- Kathy Ffoulkes
- 136 centimetre(s)
- Australia (Shoalwater)
The longest snake melon (Cucumis melo var. flexuosus) was 136 centimetres (4 feet 5.5 inches) and was grown by Kathy Ffoulkes (Australia) in Shoalwater, Western Australia, Australia, as confirmed on 17 February 2020.
The specimen (a cultivar called “Sweet & Striped”) was harvested on 28 January 2020 as the fruit was starting to break away at the stem. The plant had been grown in a mix of compost, sand, soil and worm castings, was supported on an old clothesline and was watered three times a week.
Snake melons also go by the name of Armenian cucumbers, snake cucumbers and serpent cucumbers. Indeed, their appearance and flavour, and therefore culinary use, is generally closer to the common cucumber (Cucumis sativus), however it is botanically part of the muskmelon family (Cucumis melo), along with better-known, sweeter species such as honeydews and cantaloupes. While most melon fruits have a length to width ratio of 1:1, the fruit of flexuosus snake melons commonly has a ratio of 4:1 and higher.
A more typical maximum length for snake melons is between 61 and 91 cm (2–3 ft), though most growers recommend that they’re picked at 40–46 cm (1 ft–1 ft 6 in) for a less bitter flavour.
Snake melons should not be confused with snake gourds (Trichosanthes spp.), another vine plant known for its extremely long fruit. However, snake melons and snake gourds do share a broader lineage as they both belong to the Cucurbitaceae family, members of which are often universally referred to as gourds.
Kathy initially got in touch to tell GWR about her phenomenal fruit, and find out whether it could be worthy of a record, via the Guinness World Records Facebook page.