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Creeping Cucumber Melothria pendula

 

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Creeping Cucumber - habit and flower
credit: Chia-Bun Ong/CCSA

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Alternate name: Guadeloupe Cucumber

Family: Cucurbitaceae, Cucumber view all from this family



Description Habit: native perennial vine; climbing, with thin herbaceous stems.
Height: variable.
Leaf: alternate, palmately 3-5 lobed, 1.5-3 in (4-8 cm) long and wide.
Flower: very small 5-pointed star, yellow to greenish-yellow to greenish-white, about 0.5 in (12 mm) wide, with broad petals notched at tip; held in leaf axils.
Fruit: small gourd, oblong, resembling a miniature watermelon, to 1 in (25 mm) long; speckled green maturing to purplish-black.


Flower June to September, or year-round, depending on location.


Habitat Forests, thickets, low woods, marshes, fields, roadsides, fences, disturbed areas.


Range Native to southeastern U.S., from Pennsylvania, south to Florida, west to Texas, north to Kansas, northeast to Indiana; also in Puerto Rico.


Discussion Also called Guadeloupe cucumber, squirting cucumber, meloncito, speckled gourd. The latin name Bryonia guadalupensis was formerly used. Three varieties are proposed. Threatened, endangered, or extinct in Illinois, Indiana, and Maryland.

The Houma Indians of Louisiana mixed the pulverized leaves with gunpowder to treat moccasin bites.


 

 

 

2007 eNature.com