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Cucumis sativus

Image of Cucumis sativus

Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Cucurbitales
Family: Cucurbitaceae
Common name: Khira, Shasha(Beng.);Cucumber(Eng.).
Life cycle: Annual
Native Range: Cucumis sativus came originally from southern Asia, but are now cultivated commercially and in home gardens throughout the world.

Cucumis sativus is a widely cultivated plant in the gourd family. It is a creeping vine that roots in the ground and grows up trellises or other supporting frames, wrapping around ribbing with thin, spiraling tendrils. The plant has large leaves that form a canopy over the fruit. The fruit is roughly cylindrical, elongated, with tapered ends, and may be as large as 60 cm long and 10 cm in diameter. Its grown to be eaten fresh (called slicers) and those intended for pickling (called picklers) are similar. Cucumbers are mainly eaten in the unripe green form. The ripe yellow form normally becomes too bitter and sour.

The leaf juice is emetic, it is used to treat dyspepsia in children. The fruit is depurative, diuretic, emollient, purgative and resolvent. The fresh fruit is used internally in the treatment of blemished skin, heat rash etc, whilst it is used externally as a poultice for burns, sores etc and also as a cosmetic for softening the skin. The seed is cooling, diuretic, tonic and vermifuge.