Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Nara Plant
Acanthosicyos horrida

Family: Cucurbitaceae (koo-ker-bih-TAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Acanthosicyos (a-kanth-oh-SIS-eye-os) (Info)
Species: horrida (HOR-id-uh) (Info)

One member has or wants this plant for trade.

Edible Fruits and Nuts

Unknown - Tell us

36-48 in. (90-120 cm)
4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)
6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)

USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun

Plant has spines or sharp edges; use extreme caution when handling

Bloom Color:
White/Near White

Bloom Time:
Mid Summer
Late Summer/Early Fall
Blooms all year


Other details:
This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds
Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Soil pH requirements:
Unknown - Tell us

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From woody stem cuttings
From hardwood cuttings
Direct sow as soon as the ground can be worked

Seed Collecting:
Allow unblemished fruit to ripen; clean and dry seeds
Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored


1 positive
No neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive IRFAN_LODHI On Feb 13, 2010, IRFAN_LODHI from faisalabad
Pakistan (Zone 10b) wrote:

Acanthosicyos horridus )
nara (Topnaar); nara melon (English); butterpips
geographic distribution :
Acanthosicyos horridus grows in the coastal region of the Namib Desert in Namibia It grows where underground water is available, colonizing shifting sand dunes......

SOME TRUTH ABOUT NARA MELON :Fossil evidence indicates that the nara existed some 40 million years ago. The nara was probably utilized in the stone-age, and was probably the sole reason why the desert tribes survived in their habitat to modern day.
The shrub is heavily armed with 2-3cm long straight, sharp, paired spines growing on longitudinally grooved stems up to 1m long
The nuts of the fruit are the staple diet of indigenous people of Namibia.
The name nara melon is derived from the name of one of the areas where it is commonly found,More recently, the fruit has had economic importance in South Africa
In South Africa the seeds are eaten like nuts and taste similar to almonds; The seeds are highly nutritious, containing 57% oil and 31% protein....
Ecologically, nara is a keystone species, being the most important sand stabilising plant in the Namib desert.

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