Cucurbitaceae : Echinocystis lobata
Native American Name
Echinocystis lobata is a long (up to 25 m), climbing, annual, hairless vine with long tendrils that allow it to attach to vegetation, fences and other structures. The alternate, simple leaves grow to 17.5 cm long and about as wide, usually having 5 (3-7) triangular lobes and margins with widely spaced teeth. The plants are monoecious, the male flowers are arranged in 10-20 cm long racemes growing from the axils of leaves and the female flowers are in small clusters attached to the same leaf axils. The flowers have 6 greenish white petals that are often twisted and covered in short, glandular hairs, the male flowers with 3 stamens and the female with a pistil having a 2-celled ovary and broad style. The fruit is an inflated, ovoid, green pepo with small spines, that explodes upon drying ejecting 4 dark 12-20 mm long seeds. Wild cucumber blooms from June through October in moist rich soils in woodlands and along waterways throughout South Dakota.