The cucumber (Cucumis sativus) is a widely cultivated plant in the gourd family Cucurbitaceae, which includes squash, and in the same genus as the muskmelon.
- English cucumbers can grow as long as 2 feet (0.61 m). They are nearly seedless, have a delicate skin which is pleasant to eat, and are sometimes marketed as “Burpless”, because the seeds and skin of other varieties of cucumbers can give some people gas.
- East Asian cucumbers are mild, slender, deep green, and have a bumpy, ridged skin. They can be used for slicing, salads, pickling, etc., and are available year-round.
- Lebanese cucumbers are small, smooth-skinned and mild. Like the English cucumber, Lebanese cucumbers are nearly seedless.
- 'Armenian cucumbers' (also known as yard long) has very long ribbed fruit with a thin skin that does not require peeling, but are actually an immature melon. This is the variety sold in middle-eastern markets as "pickled wild cucumber". In North America, the term “wild cucumber” refers to manroot.
- Persian Cucumber, better known as Mini seedless cucumbers, available from Canada during the summer, and all year-round from the Dominican. Increasing its popularity 30 to 40% a year. Easy to cut on average 5-8 in. long.
- Beit Alpha cucumbers are small, sweet cucumbers adapted to the dry climate of the Middle East
- Pickling cucumbers - Although any cucumber can be pickled, commercial pickles are made from cucumbers specially bred for uniformity of length-to-diameter ratio and lack of voids in the flesh.
- Slicers grown commercially for the North American market are generally longer, smoother, more uniform in color, and have a much tougher skin. Slicers in other countries are smaller and have a thinner, more delicate skin.
- Dosakai is a yellow cucumber available in parts of India. These fruits are generally spherical in shape. It is commonly cooked as curry, added in Sambar/Soup, Daal and also in making Dosa-Aavakaaya (Indian Pickle) and Chutney.
- Kekiri is a smooth skinned cucumber relatively hard and not used for salads. It is cooked as spicy curry. It is found in dry zone of Sri Lanka. It becomes orange colored when the fruit is matured.
Cucumber plants bear blossoms as well as fruit. These blossoms are edible, but typically used as garnish only.
Cucumbers can be pickled for flavor and longer shelf life. As compared to eating cucumbers, pickling cucumbers tend to be shorter, thicker, less regularly-shaped, and have bumpy skin with tiny white- or black-dotted spines. They are never waxed. Color can vary from creamy yellow to pale or dark green. Pickling cucumbers are sometimes sold fresh as “Kirby” or “Liberty” cucumbers. The pickling process removes or degrades much of the nutrient content, especially that of vitamin C. Pickled cucumbers are soaked in brine or a combination of vinegar and brine, although not vinegar alone, often along with various spices. Pickled cucumbers are often referred to simply as "pickles" in the U.S. or "Gherkins" or "Wallies" in the U.K, the latter name being more common in the north of England where it refers to the large vinegar-pickled cucumbers commonly sold in fish & chip shops. (Although the gherkin is of the same species as the cucumber it is of a completely different cultivar).