Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Colocynth, Egusi, Bitter Apple
Citrullus colocynthis

Family: Cucurbitaceae (koo-ker-bih-TAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Citrullus (SIT-ruh-lus) (Info)
Species: colocynthis (kol-OH-sinth-iss) (Info)

3 members have or want this plant for trade.


Unknown - Tell us

15-20 ft. (4.7-6 m)

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Sun Exposure:
Unknown - Tell us

Seed is poisonous if ingested
All parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:
Bright Yellow

Bloom Time:
Unknown - Tell us


Other details:
Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:
Unknown - Tell us

Patent Information:
Unknown - Tell us

Propagation Methods:
Unknown - Tell us

Seed Collecting:
Allow unblemished fruit to ripen; clean and dry seeds

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Thumbnail #1 of Citrullus colocynthis by kennedyh

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2 positives
1 neutral
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive abamiedaau On Jan 5, 2015, abamiedaau from Kalamazoo, MI wrote:

I am Yoruba from Nigeria. I agree entirely with the positive post by another member that colocynthis is definitely a staple of most Africans that I have met in more than four continents of the world. Go on and type "egusi recipe" and you'll see the different varieties of absolutely delicious meals made out of the ground dry seeds. Harvesting the seeds is exactly as he posted. The oil extracted from the seed is fantastic when eaten with cooked yams. Enjoy.

Positive flightsfan On Jul 9, 2014, flightsfan from Aloha, OR wrote:

The information on this plant is completely wrong. The seeds are in no way toxic. They are commonly ground into a powder and eaten through out most of Africa. Commonly known as Egusi the seeds are extremely high in fats and protein and are very nutritious. The melons are inedible. Common harvest method is to allow melons to ripen then the melons are split in half and laid open face down to allow the melon flesh to rot a little before the seeds are collected. I have personally consumed significant quantities of the powdered seeds which are easily found in African markets.

Neutral saya On Jun 22, 2005, saya from Heerlen
Netherlands (Zone 8b) wrote:

Native of Turkey abounding in the Archipelago; also found in Africa (Nubia especially), Asia, Smyrna and Trieste. It is an annual plant resembling the common watermelon at the size of an orange, yellow and smooth. Special if dried it is a powerful drastic hydragogue cathartic producing, when given in large doses, violent griping with, sometimes, bloody discharges and dangerous inflammation of the bowels. Death has resulted from a dose of 1 1/2 teaspoonsful of the powder. It is of such irritant nature that severe pain is caused if the powdered drug be applied to the nostrils; it has a nauseous, bitter taste. Colocynth fruits broken small are useful for keeping moth away from furs, woollens, etc.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Kalamazoo, Michigan

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