Echinocystis lobata (Michx.) T. & G. - Wild Cucumber


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Echinocystis lobata - (image 1 of 6)



Family: Cucurbitaceae


Frequent in low ground. Also occurs in moist thickets.


Acer saccharum, Ambrosia trifida (sniffle), Fraxinus pennsylvanica, Impatiens capensis (pop!), Laportea canadensis, Polygonum punctatum, Rhus radicans (itch!), Rudbeckia laciniata, Sambucus canadensis, Solidago gigantea, Urtica procera (ouch!), Viburbum lentago.




An annual vine, climbing by means of twining tendrils. Leaves palmately 3-7 lobed, the leaves divided about halfway, the lobes long tapering to an acute tip, ending in a filiform extension of the midrib. Flowers monoecious (typical of the gourd family), greenish-white, calyx and corolla 6-parted (not typical of the gourd family). Fruit bladder-like, weakly prickly, containing 4 poisonous, brown to black seeds.


Flowers late July to early October

Wetland indicator: Facultative wetland-

The vines are normally rather small but can sometimes cover large areas by late summer. The Wisconsin Plant of the Weeks article states that the seeds are "expelled from the fruit by hydrostatic pressure at speeds exceeding 11.5 m/sec. (Thatís over 25 mph and, yes, someone actually measured it.)".


Swink, F. and G. Wilhelm. 1994. Plants of the Chicago Region.
Indiana Academy of Science. The Morton Arboretum. Lisle, Illinois.


Wisconsin Plant of the Week: Echinocystis lobata. 09/09/2001




 Michael Hough © 2004