FloraFinder.org
Home   About Us   Want to Help?   FAQ  
Searching   Image Use Biblio

Echinocystis lobata

Echinocystis lobata (Michx.) Torr. & A. Gray

Micrampelis lobata (Michx.) Greene

Sicyos lobata Michx.

Wild Cucumber, Balsam Apple, Prickly Cucumber, Wild Balsam Apple

KingdomPlantaePlants, but not fungi, lichens, or algae
SubkingdomTracheobiontaVascular plants—plants with a “circulatory system” for delivering water and nutrients
DivisionMagnoliophytaFlowering plants, also known as angiosperms
ClassMagnoliopsidaDicotyledons—plants with two initial seed leaves
SubclassRosidaeRoses, legumes, proteas, dogwoods, hydrangeas, mistletoes, euphorbias, grapes, many more
OrderViolalesA large group that takes its name from violets
FamilyCucurbitaceaeSquashes, melons, pumpkins, and gourds; name probably from German Kürbiskernöl, “pumpkin”
GenusEchinocystisFrom Greek echinos, “hedgehog,” and Latin cystis, “bladder”
SpecieslobataFrom Latin for “lobed”

About plant names...

Echinocycystis contains both Latin and Greek roots that translate roughly to “a sac with spines like a hedgehog,” an appropriate description of the fruit.

Identification: These plants are herbaceous vines, with tendrils that wrap around other plants and tighten to form a spring. They favor wet ground—flood plains, river banks, borders of woods, thickets—anywhere with soggy ground and lots of sun. They contain alternate leaves, lobed and slightly serrated. The leaves are an off-center star, with two small, two medium, and one longer point. Flowers are greenish-white, with six petals. They appear from July to early August.

The fruits are the most interesting and unique aspect of these plants. They are initially round and densely covered with soft prickles. They extend to a length of 1-1¾" (3-5 cm), variegated light/dark green, with prickles more spread out. They have the shape and coloration of tiny watermelons, to which they are related. In the fall the fruits, under accumulated hydrostatic pressure, open and eject their seeds, at a rather respectable speed of 38' (11 m) per second. The empty shells, now light brown and looking a lot like a porcupine fish, often remain on the plant through the winter. As the outer layer rots away, a netlike sac of fibers remains to provoke the sense of wonder of passing naturalists (Photo 6).

Online References:

Echinocystis lobata on Ontario Wildflowers

Echinocystis lobata at the Plants of the Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden

Echinocystis lobata on www-personal.umich.edu

Echinocystis lobata at the University of Wisconsin's Robert W. Freckmann Herbarium

Echinocystis lobata on Plants for a Future, a resource and information centre for edible and otherwise useful plants

Echinocystis lobata on the USDA Plants Database

Echinocystis lobata at Minnesota Wildflowers

Echinocystis lobata (Wild Cucumber, Balsam Apple, Prickly Cucumber, Wild Balsam Apple)

1 · 8/18/2012 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton Center, Groton, MA
≈ 9 × 6" (22 × 14 cm)

Echinocystis lobata (Wild Cucumber, Balsam Apple, Prickly Cucumber, Wild Balsam Apple)

2 · 9/11/2010 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton Center, Groton, MA
≈ 14 × 9" (35 × 23 cm)

Echinocystis lobata (Wild Cucumber, Balsam Apple, Prickly Cucumber, Wild Balsam Apple)

3 · 8/16/2013 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton Center, Groton, MA
≈ 12 × 8" (31 × 21 cm)

Echinocystis lobata (Wild Cucumber, Balsam Apple, Prickly Cucumber, Wild Balsam Apple)

4 · 9/11/2010 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton Center, Groton, MA
≈ 15 × 10" (39 × 26 cm)

Echinocystis lobata (Wild Cucumber, Balsam Apple, Prickly Cucumber, Wild Balsam Apple)

5 · 2/27/2012 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton Center, Groton, MA
≈ 3½ × 3½" (8.9 × 9.2 cm)

Echinocystis lobata (Wild Cucumber, Balsam Apple, Prickly Cucumber, Wild Balsam Apple)

6 · 2/27/2012 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton Center, Groton, MA
≈ 3½ × 3" (9.2 × 7.9 cm)

Echinocystis lobata (Wild Cucumber, Balsam Apple, Prickly Cucumber, Wild Balsam Apple)

7 · 9/11/2010 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton Center, Groton, MA
≈ 5 × 6" (13 × 16 cm)

Echinocystis lobata description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 18 Aug 2013.

© FloraFinder.org. All rights reserved.


 

Echinocystis lobata (Wild Cucumber, Balsam Apple, Prickly Cucumber, Wild Balsam Apple)

8 · 8/16/2013 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton Center, Groton, MA
≈ 6 × 8" (16 × 20 cm)

Echinocystis lobata (Wild Cucumber, Balsam Apple, Prickly Cucumber, Wild Balsam Apple)

9 · 11/20/2009 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton Center, Groton, MA
≈ 6 × 4" (15 × 10 cm)

Echinocystis lobata (Wild Cucumber, Balsam Apple, Prickly Cucumber, Wild Balsam Apple)

10 · 9/11/2010 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton Center, Groton, MA
≈ 10 × 15" (26 × 39 cm)

Echinocystis lobata (Wild Cucumber, Balsam Apple, Prickly Cucumber, Wild Balsam Apple)

11 · 8/16/2013 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton Center, Groton, MA
≈ 7 × 8" (18 × 21 cm)

Echinocystis lobata (Wild Cucumber, Balsam Apple, Prickly Cucumber, Wild Balsam Apple)

12 · 9/11/2010 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton Center, Groton, MA
≈ 6 × 9" (15 × 23 cm)

Echinocystis lobata (Wild Cucumber, Balsam Apple, Prickly Cucumber, Wild Balsam Apple)

13 · 8/18/2012 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton Center, Groton, MA
≈ 6 × 9" (15 × 23 cm)

Echinocystis lobata (Wild Cucumber, Balsam Apple, Prickly Cucumber, Wild Balsam Apple)

14 · 9/11/2010 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton Center, Groton, MA
≈ 17 × 12" (44 × 29 cm)

Echinocystis lobata (Wild Cucumber, Balsam Apple, Prickly Cucumber, Wild Balsam Apple)

15 · 8/16/2013 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton Center, Groton, MA
≈ 7 × 6" (16 × 16 cm)

Echinocystis lobata (Wild Cucumber, Balsam Apple, Prickly Cucumber, Wild Balsam Apple)

16 · 8/18/2012 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton Center, Groton, MA
≈ 10 × 15" (26 × 39 cm)

Range:

About this map...