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Wild Cucumber Fruiting

9-24-13 wild cucumber2  IMG_4085Looking more like a miniature spiny watermelon than a cucumber, the fruit of Wild Cucumber (Echinocystis lobata) grows on an annual vine that can reach a length of 15 to 25 feet. The genus name Echinocystis comes from the Greek echinos for “hedgehog” and cystis for “bladder”, appropriately describing the prickly fruit. The puffy, spherical-to-oblong, green fruits with long, soft spines grow up to two inches long. Despite its common name, Wild Cucumber fruits are not edible, and can cause burning reactions in some people. When ripe, the fruit turns brown and dries up, bursting open at the bottom, ejecting four large, flat, black seeds.

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7 responses

  1. Excellent! I was just looking at one yesterday but it was buried in other vegetation and not a good photo op.

    September 24, 2013 at 1:05 pm

  2. micky

    Are they somehow related to lufa sponges?

    September 24, 2013 at 4:43 pm

    • They are both in the Cucumber family — good for you!!!

      September 24, 2013 at 5:20 pm

      • micky

        Would they make nice little skin scrubbers? Shall we go into business?

        September 24, 2013 at 5:54 pm

      • I think you’re definitely on to something! There sure isn’t a shortage of them, and all you’d have to do is bag them up for sale! Mini-lufas, here we come.

        September 24, 2013 at 6:48 pm

  3. Beth

    they certainly are prolific. are they invasive? i don’t remember seeing them, ever, when i was a kid, now i see them everywhere!

    September 25, 2013 at 2:45 am

    • Hi Beth,
      Although they definitely are prolific, I believe they’re not considered invasive, as they’re so easy to control.

      September 25, 2013 at 1:27 pm

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