|WILD CUCUMBER VINES RAMBLING OVER TREES AND SHRUBS|
|FLOWERS AND LEAVES OF WILD CUCUMBER|
|WILD CUCUMBER FRUIT|
We saw two coyotes again this morning, quite large, a lot bigger than Buddy, who didn't know what to make of them. They must have been the same coyotes that howled in harmony with the rescue squad sirens about 8:00 last night.
Wild cucumber vines are rambling over trees and shrubs in wet spots, making many woods edges look like they have a bad haircut. The vines are pretty in an unkempt way, and are sometimes planted to climb on arbors, but I wouldn't want them to eat my house.
Wild cucumber, Echinocystis lobata, in the gourd family, the Cucurbitaceae, is common throughout much of southern Canada and the lower 48 states of the US. The Latin genus name refers to the prickly fruit, and the species name to the distinctly lobed leaves. Since wild cucumber has at times been used as an ornamental vine, it is also escaped from cultivation. It is an annual that climbs by tendrils like the garden cucumber, but is not related to it. Each "cucumber" or "balsam apple" bears four seeds, which reportedly were used as beads by American Indians.
The plant is said to have had some use among Native Americans as an analgesic and a bitter tonic, and as a love potion.