Vascular Plants of Wisconsin

Echinocystis lobata (Michx.) Torr. & A.Gray
wild cucumber
Family: Cucurbitaceae

native: yes
type: herbaceous vine

plant leaf flowers fruit mature fruit with seed winter fruit
 

Echinocystis lobata is an herbaceous vine with numerous white 6-petaled flowers and fruits that look a little like a tiny watermellon with spines. The camparison is reasonable because it is in the same family as watermellons, pumpkins, squash, gourds and cucumbers. Each fruit produces 4 large seeds similar to the familiar pumpkin or squash seeds commonly planted in gardens. It is an annual species so each year the seeds germinate and grow to impressive size before flowering in late July or early August. When the fruit matures the lower end of the pendulous fruit opens to drop the seeds and the plants die with the advent of freezing weather.

Echinocystis lobata grows nearly throughout the eastern U.S.A. and southern Canada. In Wisconsin it is found throughout the state on wet sites, both sunny and shaded and sometimes on more mesic sites on disturbed soil.

 


known distribution based on vouchers

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