Native. Annual. Propagates by seeds. Time of bloom: July to September. Seed-time: August to October.
Range: Quebec to Minnesota, southward to Florida and Texas. Habitat: Moist, rich soil; banks of streams, fence rows, thickets, waste places.
A vine of amazingly rapid growth; Dr. Coulter mentions one that climbed up a neighboring tree to a distance of sixty-three feet. Sometimes, on bottom lands which have been flooded, many seeds lie dormant until the ground is put under cultivation, when they suddenly spring to life, binding corn or tobacco rows or other vegetation into tangled thickets.
Stem pale green, slender but very tough and fibrous, angled, more or less viscidly hairy. Leaves very large (the lower ones sometimes ten inches across), alternate, thin, rough on both sides, heart-shaped at base, five-nerved and five-pointed, finely and sharply toothed, with rather short, hairy petioles; opposite each leaf is a three- to five-parted and spirally curled tendril, on a much longer petiole. Flowers monoecious, the staminate ones in small racemes on long, slender, axillary peduncles; calyx cup-shaped, five-toothed; corolla with five lobes united at base, white striped with green; the three stamens united and the anthers cohering in a small, club-like mass; below, but in the same axils, are the smaller pistillate flowers, in rounded clusters on much shorter peduncles. Ovary one-celled, the style short and slender with three stigmas; fruits in clusters of three to ten, each containing a single seed, ovoid, covered with prickly, barbed bristles; the arrangement of the clusters is often star-shaped. (Fig. 283.)
Fig. 283. - Star Cucumber (Si-cyos angulatus). X 1/6.
When the weed invades a field, or in any place where its growth is harmful, the roots should be cut from the stem or jerked from the soil, leaving the vines to relax and wither, for it is useless to try to untangle the clinging tendrils.