The cucumber, Cucumis sativus, is native to the Indian subcontinent. No evidence has been found for its presence in Europe during Roman times but cucumber does appear in many late medieval images. Based mainly on 7th Century Byzantine Greek lexicographical evidence and a 10th Century Arabic description of cucumber in Andalusia, Paris et al. suggest that cucumber was introduced to Europe from the east via two separate routes. One appears to have been overland from Persia into eastern and northern Europe and preceded the Islamic conquests, whilst the other, subsequent, diffusion into western and southern Europe was probably by a mostly maritime route from Persia or the Indian subcontinent into Andalusia.
New in Annals of Botany