Echinocystis lobata (Wild Cucumber)
|Also known as:|
|Habitat:||part shade, shade; moist woods, thickets, along streams|
|Bloom season:||July - September|
|Plant height:||2 to 10 foot vine|
|USDA PLANTS database:||Minnesota county distribution map|
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Wild Cucumber has both male and female flowers on the same plant. Individual male flowers are ½ inch across, star shaped with 6 thin greenish white petals, on a 4 to 8 inch long spike. The spikes are at the end of a stem that is attached at the leaf joints. An inconspicuous single female flower sits at the base of the male flower stem.
Leaves are nearly as wide as they are long, up to 7 inches across, with 5 angular lobes. The shape is similar to a maple leaf. There are tiny widely spaced teeth all around the edges. Branching tendrils are attached opposite the leaf stem.
Notes:Wild Cucumber is easily distinguished from Bur Cucumber by the flower shape. Both grow in similar habitats around the same time, but Wild Cucumber blooms a little earlier. Wild Cucumber is hairless, Bur Cucumber has a hairy stem. Bur Cucumber also has a cluster of pods, each rather smaller than Wild Cucumber's.
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Photos taken at Long Lake Regional Park, New Brighton, and Pioneer Park, Blaine, MN, July-September 2007
Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?