Rent Shop Volunteer Join

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
1 rating

Wednesday - November 16, 2011

From: Coppell, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Plant Identification, Edible Plants, Poisonous Plants
Title: Identification of a cucumber-like vine with fruit
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

We found tiny, grape-size white melon-like fruit on a vine, with tomato-like/cucumber-like seeds. The leaves on the vine were similar to grape or cucumber leaves, but not spiny. They were behind our shed. No clue where or how they got there, as we had redone the entire yard, and it should have been bare. Do you have any clue what they might be and if they are edible? I can send a photo if you wish. Thank you! TAMU Class of '82

ANSWER:

Your description sounds like Melothria pendula (Guadeloupe cucumber).  The Poisonous Plants of North Carolina says that the "raw berry is edible, but a strong laxative."  Thus, they classify it as causing "only low toxicity if eaten."  Another "take" from Eat the Weeds on the edibility of the fruit is that the green fruits are edible, but the mature purple fruits are the ones that cause the trouble. 

I imagine the way the plant got in your backyard is from seeds that were deposited by a bird or small animal.

If this isn't your plant, please visit our Plant Identification page to find several links to plant identifcation forums that accept photos for identification.

 

 

From the Image Gallery


Guadeloupe cucumber
Melothria pendula

Guadeloupe cucumber
Melothria pendula

Guadeloupe cucumber
Melothria pendula

More Edible Plants Questions

Information on cherry trees from Santa Fe
May 23, 2010 - 1.does the purple leaf sand cherry have edible fruits? size, flavor, cross pollinator necessary, fruiting time? cultivars? zone, soil, light, water? 2. fall foliage color of 'Meteor" cherry tree?
view the full question and answer

Garden crop to plant in July in Austin
July 16, 2010 - I've just been given access to a plot at Sunshine Gardens and must plant something within 30 days. What would be a good planting crop for the middle of July that would be successful for harvesting i...
view the full question and answer

Are berries of coral honeysuckle edible from Lufkin TX
May 21, 2013 - Are the berries of coral honeysuckle edible?
view the full question and answer

Use of cenizo (Leucophyllum frutescens) for tea
February 20, 2006 - Back in the 50's when I spent the summers with my grandmother south of Hondo, Texas, she use to pick leaves from the cenizo (purple sage) bushes, dry them and then brew them for tea. I asked one of m...
view the full question and answer

Are American Hazelnuts Self-Fertile?
November 06, 2014 - I planted an American Hazelnut a couple of years ago that I ordered from a catalog. Is this plant self-fertile or do I need to plant another one? I have seen conflicting information on this subject.
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.