Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Wild Cucumbers

Wild cucumber is a climbing and trailing perennial that grows from a large woody or fleshy underground root weighing as much as 100lbs. It is because of this root that it is sometimes called manroot, and also that it is one of the first plants to reseed after a fire.
Tendrils used for anchoring the plant grow opposite the leaves. The male and female flowers are separate but on the same plant, and are white with five petals.
The fruit is a green, ovoid gourd to 5" long densely covered with stiff flattened prickles sometimes with a sharp beak at the end and containing 4-16 oblong brown to tan seeds.
Wild cucumber begins sending up rapidly-growing shoots in December and may begin blooming in January, continuing through April. It is a common plant of dry areas of chaparral, washes, roadsides below 3000' and may also be found in coastal sage scrub and foothill woodland communities.
What I really wanted to know though, is why is it called a cucumber when it really doesn't look like one, and is it edible? I'll find out and get back to you.

1 comment:

  1. LOVE that tendril shot! Wow - so delicate looking with perfect lighting! and ya, WHY is it called wild cucumber? Inquiring minds want to know!