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Uses

Toxic parts

Poisonous in large quantities[1] (this probably refers to the fruit). The juice of the fruit is irritative to some skins[2].

Edible uses

There are no edible uses listed for Ecballium elaterium.

Material uses

There are no material uses listed for Ecballium elaterium.

Medicinal uses(Warning!)

The squirting cucumber has been used as a medicinal plant for over 2,000 years, though it has a very violent effect upon the body and has little use in modern herbalism[3][4].

The juice of the fruit is antirheumatic, cardiac and purgative[5][1][6][7][8]. The plant is a very powerful purgative that causes evacuation of water from the bowels[3]. It is used internally in the treatment of oedema associated with kidney complaints, heart problems, rheumatism, paralysis and shingles[7][3]. Externally, it has been used to treat sinusitis and painful joints[3]. It should be used with great caution and only under the supervision of a qualified practitioner[9][3]. Excessive doses have caused gastro-enteritis and even death[1]. It should not be used by pregnant women since it can cause an abortion[1]. The fully grown but unripe fruits are harvested during the summer, they are left in containers until the contents are expelled and the juice is then dried for later use[10][3].

The root contains an analgesic principle[11].

Ecology

Ecosystem niche/layer

Ecological Functions

Nothing listed.

Forage

Nothing listed.

Shelter

Nothing listed.

Propagation

Seed - sow early spring in rich compost in a greenhouse. Place 2 - 3 seeds per pot and thin to the strongest plant. The seed usually germinates in 10 - 21 days at 25°c[12]. Grow the plants on fast and plant them out after the last expected frosts.

Practical Plants is currently lacking information on propagation instructions of Ecballium elaterium. Help us fill in the blanks! Edit this page to add your knowledge.



Cultivation

Prefers a moist well-drained soil in a sunny position[7][13]. Grows best in a rich soil[5]. Another report says that it succeeds in poor soils[3].

The foliage is fairly frost-tender, though the roots are much hardier and plants can survive quite cold winters in Britain[7]. They are more likely to be killed by excessive winter wet[7]. The squirting cucumber is sometimes cultivated for its use as a medicinal plant[10].

The ripening fruit becomes pumped full of liquid, leading to an increase in pressure. As the seed becomes ripe, this pressure forces the fruit to break away explosively from the plant, ejecting its seed to a considerable distance in the opposite direction. The plant occasionally self-sows in our Cornwall trial ground[K] and can become a weed in warmer climates than Britain[K]. It is subject to statutory control as a weed in Australia[3].

Crops

Problems, pests & diseases

Associations & Interactions

There are no interactions listed for Ecballium elaterium. Do you know of an interaction that should be listed here? edit this page to add it.

Polycultures & Guilds

There are no polycultures listed which include Ecballium elaterium.

Descendants

Cultivars

Varieties

None listed.

Subspecies

None listed.

Full Data

This table shows all the data stored for this plant.

Taxonomy
Binomial name
Ecballium elaterium
Genus
Ecballium
Family
Cucurbitaceae
Imported References
Edible uses
Material uses & Functions
Botanic
Propagation
Cultivation
Environment
Cultivation
Uses
Edible uses
None listed.
Material uses
None listed.
Medicinal uses
None listed.
Functions & Nature
Functions
Provides forage for
Provides shelter for
Environment
Hardiness Zone
9
Heat Zone
?
Water
moderate
Sun
full sun
Shade
no shade
Soil PH
Soil Texture
Soil Water Retention
Environmental Tolerances
    Ecosystems
    Native Climate Zones
    None listed.
    Adapted Climate Zones
    None listed.
    Native Geographical Range
    None listed.
    Native Environment
    None listed.
    Ecosystem Niche
    None listed.
    Root Zone Tendancy
    None listed.
    Life
    Deciduous or Evergreen
    ?
    Herbaceous or Woody
    ?
    Life Cycle
    Growth Rate
    ?
    Mature Size
    Fertility
    Pollinators
    Flower Colour
    ?
    Flower Type

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    "image:Ecballium elaterium.JPG|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki.

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    References

    1. ? 1.01.11.21.31.4 Chiej. R. Encyclopaedia of Medicinal Plants. MacDonald ISBN 0-356-10541-5 (1984-00-00)
    2. ? Niebuhr. A. D. Herbs of Greece. Herb Society of America. (1970-00-00)
    3. ? 3.03.13.23.33.43.53.63.73.8 Bown. D. Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses. Dorling Kindersley, London. ISBN 0-7513-020-31 (1995-00-00)
    4. ? 4.04.1 Stuart. M. (Editor) The Encyclopedia of Herbs and Herbalism Orbis Publishing. London. ISBN 0-85613-067-2 (1979-00-00)
    5. ? 5.05.15.2 F. Chittendon. RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956 Oxford University Press (1951-00-00)
    6. ? 6.06.1 Usher. G. A Dictionary of Plants Used by Man. Constable ISBN 0094579202 (1974-00-00)
    7. ? 7.07.17.27.37.47.5 Organ. J. Gourds. Faber (1963-00-00)
    8. ? 8.08.1 Polunin. O. and Huxley. A. Flowers of the Mediterranean. Hogarth Press ISBN 0-7012-0784-1 (1987-00-00)
    9. ? 9.09.1 Grieve. A Modern Herbal. Penguin ISBN 0-14-046-440-9 (1984-00-00)
    10. ? 10.010.110.210.3 Uphof. J. C. Th. Dictionary of Economic Plants. Weinheim (1959-00-00)
    11. ? 11.011.1 Chopra. R. N., Nayar. S. L. and Chopra. I. C. Glossary of Indian Medicinal Plants (Including the Supplement). Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, New Delhi. (1986-00-00)
    12. ? Bird. R. (Editor) Focus on Plants. Volume 5. (formerly 'Growing from seed') Thompson and Morgan. (1991-00-00)
    13. ? 13.013.1 Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992. MacMillan Press ISBN 0-333-47494-5 (1992-00-00)

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    Facts about "Ecballium elaterium"RDF feed
    Article is incompleteYes +
    Article requires citationsNo +
    Article requires cleanupYes +
    Belongs to familyCucurbitaceae +
    Belongs to genusEcballium +
    Has binomial nameEcballium elaterium +
    Has common nameSquirting Cucumber +
    Has drought toleranceIntolerant +
    Has fertility typeSelf fertile + and Insects +
    Has flowers of typeMonoecious +
    Has hardiness zone9 +
    Has imageEcballium elaterium.JPG +
    Has lifecycle typePerennial +
    Has mature height0.3 +
    Has mature width1 +
    Has medicinal partUnknown part +
    Has medicinal useAbortifacient +, Analgesic +, Antirheumatic +, Cardiac +, Kidney + and Purgative +
    Has primary imageEcballium elaterium.JPG +
    Has search nameecballium elaterium + and squirting cucumber +
    Has shade toleranceNo shade +
    Has soil ph preferenceAcid +, Neutral + and Alkaline +
    Has soil texture preferenceSandy +, Loamy + and Clay +
    Has soil water retention preferenceWell drained +
    Has sun preferenceFull sun +
    Has taxonomic rankSpecies +
    Has taxonomy nameEcballium elaterium +
    Has water requirementsmoderate +
    Is taxonomy typeSpecies +
    PFAF cultivation notes migratedNo +
    PFAF edible use notes migratedYes +
    PFAF material use notes migratedYes +
    PFAF medicinal use notes migratedNo +
    PFAF propagation notes migratedNo +
    PFAF toxicity notes migratedNo +
    Tolerates nutritionally poor soilNo +
    Uses mature size measurement unitMeters +
    Has subobjectThis property is a special property in this wiki.Ecballium elaterium +, Ecballium elaterium +, Ecballium elaterium +, Ecballium elaterium +, Ecballium elaterium + and Ecballium elaterium +