Native. Annual. Propagates by seeds. Time of bloom: July to September. Seed-time: August to October. Range: Nova Scotia to the Saskatchewan, southward to Georgia and Colorado. Habitat: Rich soil; fence rows, thickets, and along streams.
A rapid climber, often cultivated as a quick shade for an arbor or as a cover for some eyesore of fence or building. Stem fifteen to thirty feet long, angular, grooved, smooth except for a few hairs at the joints. Leaves alternate thin, pale green, slightly rough on both sides with five triangular, pointed lobes or occasionally three- or seven-lobed, with slim, rather short petioles; opposite each leaf a three-forked tendril with a much longer footstalk. Flowers of two kinds, the stami-nate ones in long compound axillary racemes, the corollas deeply five- to six-parted, star-shaped, white, and fragrant; stamens three, with cohering anthers; below, in the same axil, are the inconspicuous pistillate flowers, usually solitary, but sometimes in twos or threes; ovary two-celled, with slender style and broad, hemispheric stigma. Fruit ovoid, nearly two inches long, covered with weak spines, two-celled, each cavity containing two rough-coated seeds nearly an inch in length; these seeds are discharged somewhat forcibly by the sudden bursting of the "apple" at the top (Fig. 284.)
The plant is seldom a nuisance except when spreading in home grounds. There the pistillate flowers should be nipped out before maturity - unless one prefers to pull cucumber seedlings from several outlying yards of ground for several seasons. Occasion ally it may be found, like the preceding species, invading botton land corn and tobacco fields. There it should receive the same treatment as recommended for Nimble Kate, of course before the first of the prickly "balsam apples" approach maturity.
Fig. 284. -Climbing Wild Cucumber (Echinocystis lobata). X 1/6.