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Melothria pendula
Photo by eattheweeds.com
Melothria pendula
Photo by Jeffrey Pippen

(More photos)

Creeping-Cucumber

Melothria pendula

mel-OH-three-ah  PEND-you-luh

Cucurbitaceae

 

Native to: Much of the eastern and central U.S. and beyond, including Florida, now scattered in many of parts of the world

 

Florida abundance and distribution: Throughout

 

Recognition:  Clinging vine with coiled tendrils.  Leaves alternate, with 3-5 lobes, usually dark green, up to about 3 inches long and wide, largest at the base of the vine and tapering to the top of the vine, which may be several feet long.  Flowers small, yellow, with 5 petals.  Fruits resemble very small watermelons smelling like cucumbers and turn black when ripe.  Seeds white.

 

Other: Fed to animals in Mexico, apparently safe for human consumption when the fruit is light green, and eaten in moderation.  The ripe black fruit reportedly can function as a laxative.

 

Contributed by: William Mallarkey.

 

 


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