Kedrostis africana (L.) Cogn.
Bryonia africana, Kedrostis digitata, Kedrostis glauca, Kedrostis punctulata
Kedrostis africana is a caudiciform plant with many climbing or creeping vines, growing rapidly from the swollen base. The caudex is up to 20 inches (50 cm) in diameter, simple or branched, woody, and stone-like of variable shape. The vines are annual, thin, green, glabrous or nearly so, and up to 20 feet (6 m) long. Leaves are alternate, green, up to 4 inches (10 cm) long, triangular in outline, and more or less deeply palmately divided into 3 or 5 lobes. The male flowers are green-yellow to whitish or cream and appear solitary or up to 12 in short racemes on up to 3.2 inches (8 cm) long peduncle. The female flowers are solitary or few in fascicles, green-yellow to whitish or cream.
USDA hardiness zones 10a to 11b: from 30 °F (−1.1 °C) to 50 °F (+10 °C).
How to Grow and Care
Baboon's Cucumber is monoecious (with separate male and female flowers but on the same plant) and is often self-fertile, so the showy, orange fruits are readily formed. It can be grown from seed in most areas, as long as the young plants are protected against drought, severe frost, and too much sunlight.
As a climber, the stems will need some support to give a showy effect. Baboon's Cucumber prefers well-drained soil, lots of water in the growing period, and some sun. It grows very slow, but it is possible to increase the speed of growth by providing an adequate amount of water, warmth, and fertilizer during the active growing season.
Baboon's Cucumber likes a sunny position, but avoid direct blasting sun in summer. Water regularly during the summer. Avoid watering in the fall or winter. It is susceptible to rot if too wet.
This is one of the hardiest of caudiciforms, tolerating winter rain and several degrees of frost. It can be grown outdoors in frost-free climates, need anyway to be kept above 32 °F (0 °C), and dry in winter.
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