The squirting cucumber is currently performing on the Systematic Beds.
Ecballium elaterium, or the squirting cucumber, must be a strong contender for the prize of most fun plant. A Mediterranean native, this member of the cucumber family, Cucurbitaceae, requires a hot, dry position in the garden. Here it is treated as a perennial, but in cooler locations should be treated as a half-hardy annual. It has bristly stems, and lobed, greyish-green leaves with a rough upper surface, and downy underside. The flowers have the typical cucumber funnel shape, are pale yellow, and approximately 5cm in diameter. Male flowers are produced in racemes, while the fruit-producing females are solitary. The fleshy, ovoid, bristly fruits are 5cm in length, and when ripe the fruits burst to expel and distribute the seed several metres.