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Creeping cucumber

Melothria pendula

Description:

I love it when wild plants are (sort of) edible. My mom pointed out this fast-growing vine by a pond. Creeping Cucumber. Green fruits taste like cucumber and can be tossed in salads, etc. But the ripe, black ones are the "mother of all laxatives."

Habitat:

Creeping cucumber is native to the Southeastern United States, west to Texas and north to Illinois and Pennsylvania. Scattered reports as far north as Delaware. Prefers moist, but not soggy, soil like that found at the edges of marshes and low woods. Twelve Melothria species worldwide, but pendula is the only one in the U.S.

Notes:

* A member of the cucumber family, it's also called Guadeloupe cucumber or squirting cucumber. People say the fruit smells like a garden cucumber, but tastes a little sweeter. It goes without saying you should never eat anything unless you check with a local expert.
* It has another alternate name, meloncito, because the fruits look like tiny striped watermelons about the size of an olive.
* It grows very fast and can make a nuisance of itself by swallowing up trees and displacing other plants.
* Ha-ha: Nice to be able to recognize food sources in case we're turned out to forage as best we can by the fall of civilization or, you know, zombie apocalypse.

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suzmonk
Spotted by
suzmonk

Mississippi, USA

Spotted on Aug 11, 2017
Submitted on Nov 24, 2017

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