thagirion: (Young Gourd)
[personal profile] thagirion
I want to talk about the cute little cucumber that grows in the south Eastern United States.

Wild Cucmber - Melothria pendula

The scientific name means hanging apple. The fruit looks more like a tiny watermelon. It's a climbinb vine with five lobed leaves. The flower is a tiny yellow and has five petals. They grow in moist areas, woods and can be found growing over shrubs.

A range map can be found here.

In the north they fruit during the summer. In the warm south they can be found almost year round. Fruits are tiny, about an inch long. This makes them very cute cucumbers.

The little fruits are edible when they are green and immature. Some sites say they are poisonous and that is wrong. WARNING though DO NOT EAT THE BLACK ONES. Mature black cucumbers will make you sick and are a super laxative. So the green ones can be put in salads. The black ones are to be avoided.

Personally I think this little vine is wonderful as an ornamental on a fence. Here is a close up of a female flower before polination. So beautiful.

One thing I love about all members of the cucumber family is the little baby fruit behind the female flowers. So cute.


cucurbitaceae: (Default)
Cucurbits - Gourds, Luffas & Pumpkins

January 2012

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