Kiwano, African Horned Melon 'African Horned'

Cucumis metuliferus

Family: Cucurbitaceae (koo-ker-bih-TAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Cucumis (KOO-koo-mis) (Info)
Species: metuliferus
Cultivar: African Horned
Additional cultivar information:(aka Jelly Melon, Kiwano)


Edible Fruits and Nuts


Vines and Climbers

Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Water Requirements:

Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


Unknown - Tell us


18-24 in. (45-60 cm)


Not Applicable

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun


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

Bloom Color:

Pale Yellow

Bloom Time:

Late Spring/Early Summer

Mid Summer

Late Summer/Early Fall





Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

Unknown - Tell us

Patent Information:

Unknown - Tell us

Propagation Methods:

From seed; sow indoors before last frost

From seed; direct sow after last frost

Seed Collecting:

Remove fleshy coating on seeds before storing

Allow unblemished fruit to ripen; clean and dry seeds

Seed does not store well; sow as soon as possible


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

Queen Creek, Arizona

Scottsdale, Arizona (2 reports)

Beebe, Arkansas

Fayetteville, Arkansas

Saint Helena, California

Zephyrhills, Florida

Augusta, Georgia

Savannah, Georgia

Wickliffe, Kentucky

Lafayette, Louisiana

Pahrump, Nevada

Siler City, North Carolina

West End, North Carolina

Boise City, Oklahoma

Gold Hill, Oregon

Culleoka, Tennessee

Livingston, Texas

Manassas, Virginia

Vancouver, Washington

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On May 29, 2017, gwenitx from Livingston, TX wrote:

I planted a Kiwano (Jelly melon) in mid-March 2017, I live in South Texas, Houston area. It went crazy growing everywhere but no flowers, no fruit UNTIL the end of may and now it's flowering like crazy and producing many fruits. Seems, unlike other plants this one likes to put all its energy into spreading out first, then it blooms ALOT! So don't give up eventually it will produce. (Got my seeds from store bought fruit as well)


On Oct 27, 2014, 51kbos from Scottsdale, AZ wrote:

I bought one of these from sprouts market in Scottsdale AZ and planted it late June, we had a very rainy season way above average, and this thing has grown up and over the wall, vining down the clothes line and has pretty much taken over, which I don't mind. I have yet to see any flowers however. There have been plenty if bees around but nothing for them to pollinate. I vaguely recall reading somewhere that plants grown from seeds of fruit bought at the store are unlikely to produce fruit, something about them being sterile or some such equivalent...does anyone know if there is any truth to that or what I can do to try and get my plant to flower if it's not true...?


On Aug 21, 2011, MTVineman from Helena, MT (Zone 5a) wrote:

Here's a great story for you. I bought a Kiwano melon at AJ's Market in Phoenix, Arizona while I was down visiting my brother. He had just moved into a new house and I was helping him plant new shrubs, trees and plants. We did all that and then I suddenly had a sneaky idea. I'm sure you can guess. I ate most of my Kiwano melon but I saved a number of seeds and just dropped them underneath a Passiflora vine I had just planted for him. He called me a few months later and asked me if I knew what this weird vine was that was taking over all of the other plants in that particular bed. Of course I did! My experiment had worked obviously. One of the seeds had germinated and was growing like a weed. That was months ago. I just went down to visit him and oh dear! I created a monster! The Kiwano is ... read more


On Jul 18, 2011, kentuckygardengirl from Blandville, KY wrote:

I'm going to give this plant a positive rating right now because the greenery is growing like gangbusters. It's a very active climber and seems to grow several inches overnight. However I haven't seen any flowers or fruits and it's mid July. I've never grown this before so I can't say if this is typical or not so we'll see. The leaves and vines look very healthy, bugs don't seem to bother them, vines are 10+ feet long in places.

I hope we get some fruits because this looks like a fun one to try.


On Aug 27, 2009, gerryd41 from Beebe, AR (Zone 7b) wrote:

I tried this plant as a fluke as it was said to be hard to germinate. We germinated two seeds and in no time the plant vined all over a eight foot trellis and we have an abundance of this yellow odd shaped fruit. The taste is different but i like it.


On Jul 14, 2008, Atash from Seattle, WA wrote:

I can't grow this--it is too warm-growing for my climate (unless I had a greenhouse, which I don't).

But I do know how to eat them, which seems to have eluded many people. Contrary to popular opinion, they are actually quite good if you know how to prepare them.

You juice them and add sugar. Drink the juice. It's that easy.

It's odd that they taste somewhat bitter and cucumber-like naturally, but are absolutely delicious sweetened, but such is the case.


On Oct 26, 2007, Just_Grow_It from Manassas, VA wrote:

A garden Annual just like cucumbers.

Good grower. Does not seem to need as much water as cucumbers. Doesn't seem to be effected by cucumber diseases. Will not cross pollinate with cucumbers.

VERY spiny, and the spines break off in your skin and are hard to remove. Gloves are a necessity.

Needs a long growing season if you want the fruit to ripen before frost kills the plant.


On Feb 27, 2007, berrygirl from Braselton, GA (Zone 8a) wrote:

Imported from New Zealand for specialty markets for over 25 years. Thorny, oval fruits are filled with greenish-gold gel and lots of seeds. The flavor is reminiscent of pomegranate and citrus. The primary market niche is for garnishes and decorative fruits. 120 days.


On Aug 19, 2004, Farmerdill from Augusta, GA (Zone 8a) wrote:

Large orange spiky fruit of subtle banana-lime flavour, long keeper. Said to have come to Australia with Boer War soldiers, also known as JELLY MELON.


On Apr 25, 2004, Monocromatico from Rio de Janeiro,
Brazil (Zone 11) wrote:

This is a fast growing african vine, closely related to cucumbers. It grows a lot, and is said to require lots of water to do so. It has lots of small spines all over the stem, and even on the flowers, so protection is required to handle this one.

It has round, heart shaped leaves. Even the petiole has tiny spines. There are male and female flowers, both are small, pale yellow, and are hidden by the foliage. The fruits are weird. When ripen, they are orange coloured, of the size of a regular passion fruit, but covered with broad and short spines. When cut in a half, it reveals a thick peel, and lots of flat seeds covered in a juicy green coat. These seeds can be eaten, or the juice can be extracted and drank.

The look of that fruit is great, but I just tasted ... read more