Crops belonging to the Cucurbitaceae family are commonly called cucurbits. Cucurbits are a big group of vegetables that include cucumber, bitter gourd, squash, bottle gourd, ridge gourd and snake gourd. Most cucurbit species have an African origin. However, cucumber is believed to have originated from the foothills of the Himalayas where the closely related wild species C. hardwickii Royle still exists. In India, the cucumber was already being cultivated 3,000 years ago, and it was known in ancient Egypt, Greece and the Roman Empire. In the 6th century, it was cultivated in China and was probably the source of the first cucurbit to reach Malaysia. Now it is cultivated worldwide.

Compared with other vegetables, cucumber occupies fourth place in importance in the world, following tomato, cole crops and onion. In 1987, world acreage of cucumber was estimated at about 850,000 ha with a total production of 12.5 million tons. About half of this production was from Asia, with China leading at 240,000 ha and 3.7 million tons in. The total production for Southeast Asia was: Indonesia - 40,000 ha and 291,000 t (1988); the Philippines - 1000 ha and 6000 t (1987); Thailand - 12 000 ha and 143 000 t (1988).

Cucumber is commonly used for salads and pickles while squash and most of the gourds are for cooking. Watermelon and muskmelon are taken as dessert while wax gourd is prepared as jam and biscuits. The slicing cucumber are peeled, sliced and served with vinegar or dressing or as an ingredient of salads. Cucumber and other cucurbit fruits are generally fat-free and low in sodium.

As other crops in the Cucurbitaceae family, cucumber has many field problems such as insect pests and diseases, deteriorated varieties and reduced fruit quality. However, cucumber is the highest export-processed product and its productivity is increasing annually.

More information about cucumber can be found in the Ecological Guide for IPM in Cucumber.

For more information about the performance of cucumber cultivars in relation to agro-ecological conditions, cultivation practices, the occurrence of pests and diseases and timing of the production, search the FAO data base at:

Click the list below for more crop specific information

  1. General Information: Origin, distribution etc.

  2. Production / Productivity

  3. Cucumber pests / diseases
  4. Post Harvest: