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
Not Yet Rated

Monday - September 30, 2013

From: Theresa, NY
Region: Northeast
Topic: Plant Identification, Vines
Title: Identity of vine in New York
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Hey there. I've recently found a "Wild Cucumber" vine in my backyard, which has been taking over our electric fence. Now I've stumbled across another very similar vine. They fruits are clustered together, in a bunch. Very small, not even an inch long, with large white seeds inside. They're also slightly spiny, but I'm unsure of how firm they are. They tend to stick to gloves rather well. When I first saw them, they reminded me of the "everlasting gobstoppers" from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, only instead of varying colors, they're just green.

ANSWER:

Here is information about Echinocystis lobata (Wild cucumber) and here are more photos and information from Robert W. Freckman Herbarium University of Wisconsin.  

I think your other vine must be Sicyos angulatus (One-seed burr cucumber).  Here are more photos and information from Illinois Wildflowers and from Discover Life.  You are right—they do resemble "Everlasting Gobstoppers", only all green.

 

From the Image Gallery


Wild cucumber
Echinocystis lobata

One-seed burr cucumber
Sicyos angulatus

More Vines Questions

Shrub or Vine for NH Slope
May 11, 2013 - I'm looking for a native plant/shrub/vine that can be used to control erosion on a relatively steep slope in New Hampshire. Do you know of any?
view the full question and answer

Plants for pergola in Lubbock TX
May 29, 2013 - I need suggestions of plants, vines, bushes to plant in my backyard near my wooden pergola that will work well in full sun in Lubbock, TX. Ideally, I'd like some that attract hummingbirds and provide...
view the full question and answer

Stumps of fallen oaks in Hurricane Irene from Newton PA
September 03, 2011 - Two large red oaks fell in the woods in our yard in Newtown PA due to Hurricane Irene. The trees have been removed, but the stumps remain. Please can you recommend some fast-growing, attractive, nativ...
view the full question and answer

Inducing flowering on vines
August 27, 2008 - My daughter presented me with a lovely Passiflora coccinea a few months ago. It is growing marvelously in full sun at the base of a pine tree. I'm wondering, though, if I were to limit the amount o...
view the full question and answer

Vines to Complement a Fence
April 10, 2012 - I have a 3' weathered picket fence that I want to plant a flowering vine on part of it. The vine must be perennial, tolerate full sun and low watering. Is there anything besides trumpet, cross vine, ...
view the full question and answer

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