This section is from the book "An Illustrated Flora Of The Northern United States, Canada And The British Possessions Vol3", by Nathaniel Lord Britton, Addison Brown. Also available from Amazon: An Illustrated Flora of the Northern United States, Canada and the British Possessions. 3 Volume Set..
Slender, mostly climbing vines, with simple or rarely bifid tendrils, lobed or entire thin leaves, and small white or yellow monoecious flowers, the staminate clustered, the pistillate often solitary. Calyx campanulate, 5-toothed. Corolla campanulate, deeply 5-parted. Stamens 3 in the staminate flowers, the anthers distinct or slightly united, the pistil wanting or rudimentary. Fertile flowers with 1 pistil; ovary ovoid, constricted below the corolla; placentae 3; ovules numerous; style short; stigmas 3, linear. Fruit small, berry-like, pulpy, many-seeded. [From the Greek for some vine, probably Bryonia cretica.]
About 70 species, natives of warm and tropical regions, most abundant in the Old World. Besides the following typical one, 3 or 4 others occur in the southern United States.
Melothria pendula L. Sp. Pl. 35. 1753.
Root perennial. Stem slender, climbing to a height of 3°-5°, branched, glabrous, grooved; petioles 1/2'-2 1/2' long; leaves nearly orbicular in outline, finely pubescent or scabrous on both sides, cordate at the base, 5-lobed or 5-angled, denticulate or dentate; tendrils puberulent; staminate flowers 4-7, racemose, borne on a peduncle 1/2'-1' long; fertile flowers solitary, slender-peduncled; corolla greenish white, about 2" broad; fruit smooth, ovoid, green, 4"-6" long.
In thickets, Pennsylvania (Schweinitz, according to Cog-niaux); Virginia to Florida, west to Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri and northern Mexico. June-Sept.