Cucumber is a thick, ground-growing annual vine that grows on scaffolding or any other supporting framework, wrapping thin, spiraling stems around the nerve. The plant has large, spiny, hairy triangular leaves that form a canopy over the fruits, and yellow flowers that are mostly either male or female. Female flowers are identified by the swollen ovary at the base, which will become the edible fruit.
The fruit: Botanically, the fruit is a false berry or gourd, elongated and with a rounded triangular shape. Size, shape and color vary by variety. The fruit cavity (three points) contains soft tissue (placenta) in which the seeds are embedded. The regular cucumber bears true seeds (seeded cucumber), while the English cucumber bears neither seeds (seedless cucumber) nor indistinct atrophied seeds. Normal cucumbers are small (about 15-25 cm) and uniformly cylindrical. Their thick, deep green skin has light green stripes and a rough surface with strong hairs. The skin is bitter in taste and not easily digested, so the fruits must be peeled before eating. English cucumbers are long (about 25-50cm) and cylindrical, with a small, narrow neck at the end of the stem. Their rather smooth surface has slight wrinkles and ridges. The thin skin is uniformly green and not bitter, so the fruits should not be peeled before eating. The fruit of cucumbers, like other Cucurbitaceae, is characterized by a high water content, which is about 95% of its fresh weight.