Ecballium elaterium (L.) A.Rich.


Genus: Ecballium

Catalan common name: Cobrómbols amargs. Cogombre bord o salvatge. Cogombret. Esquitxadors. Esquitxagossos.

Spanish common name: Cohombrillo amargo. Pepinillo del diablo.

Province distribution: Alacant. Balearic Islands. Barcelona. Castelló. Girona. Lleida. Tarragona. València.

Distribution in the islands: Mallorca. Menorca. Ibiza. Formentera.

General distribution (Phytogeography): Mediterranean

IUCN Category: LCLeast concern

Flowering time: JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec

Life-forms: Hemicryptophyte.

Habitats: Cultivated fields, path and road sides, disturbed zones. Cultivated fields, path and road sides.

Characteristics: This is a herbaceous plant which is famous for its explosive fruits: a sort of squirting cucumber that explodes violently when it is ripe and when there is any sort of vibration or contact, with the cucumber shooting out in one direction and the seeds in the other. The plant is a climber, it has thick, more or less triangular leaves and the whole plant is covered in rigid hairs which make it rough and even unpleasant to the touch. There are male feet and female feet, naturally only the latter form fruits. It lives near orchards, by roadsides, disturbed areas, etc.