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

Non-invasive, native vines for flood wall in San Jose CA
April 12, 2010 - I was hoping you could help me with some information on vine selection. I am interested in selecting three vines for a flood wall application. Non-native species are acceptable, so long as they’re no...
view the full question and answer

Fast-growing vines for the Texas Hill Country
January 17, 2015 - What are the best fast-growing vines for our Hill Country location? The vine will be growing on a stucco wall, so we don't want the vine to grow into the stucco and destroy it. Location has morning ...
view the full question and answer

Failure to thrive of passion flower in Tunbridge Wells England
April 08, 2013 - I planted my passion plant 3 years ago and I have really looked after it. I think this winter has killed it, it looks so dead. I hope it can be saved; there isn't one part of it that is looking healt...
view the full question and answer

Care for large trumpet vine in Hugo MN
June 09, 2010 - I was recently given a large Trumpet vine that has been growing in the same place for the last 25 years.I have replanted it and given it a large trellis to grow on.I live in central Minnesota. My ques...
view the full question and answer

Plant for Erosion Control on Wooded Slope in MD
May 19, 2015 - We are looking for a plant to help with erosion control on a wooded slope next to our drive. The roots of several of the trees are exposed like a shelf, so I think it's a fairly severe problem. We ar...
view the full question and answer

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