Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

Support the plant database you love!

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

Saturday - November 22, 2014

From: Floresville, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Edible Plants, Poisonous Plants, Vines
Title: Is the fruit of Melothria pendula edible?
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Is the fruit of Melothria pendula edible?

ANSWER:

Mr. Smarty Plants would not advise eating the fruit of Melothria pendula (Guadeloupe cucumber).  Here is what Delena Tull says in Edible and Useful Plants of the Southwest:  Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona:

"Consider wild gourds not listed here to be potentially toxic.  The gourds of  Melothria species (a tiny green cucumberlike fruit) and of balsam apple, Momordica species (a yellow or orange spiny fruit), have caused poisoning (Ellis 1978)."

According to the North Carolina State Plant Database it is of low toxicity, but it is a strong laxative causing diarrhea.

You will find, however, that there are those who have eaten them and claim the pale green ones are fine to eat or put in salads.  The ripe ones are the potential troublemakers.  You can read about this at Eat the Weeds by Green Deane.

 

From the Image Gallery


Guadeloupe cucumber
Melothria pendula

More Poisonous Plants Questions

Plants to replace poison ivy in Kingsport TN
July 03, 2009 - Am in the process of killing off poison ivy that is growing vigorously. What do you recommend to plant in its place. I don't want to leave area open to other invasive plants. (Yes, poison ivy is a...
view the full question and answer

Is Loropetalum poisonous to horses in Lake City FL?
October 26, 2010 - Is loropetalum poisonous to horses? I know it is a member of the witch hazel family but cannot find a definitive answer about loropetalum itself. Thank you!
view the full question and answer

Major poisonous plants in California
June 26, 2013 - Hi! So I'm working on an art project that requires a comprehensive list of poisonous plants within California. I'm looking specifically however, for plants which are fatally poisonous (upon inges...
view the full question and answer

Is scarlet buckeye (Aesculus pavia) poisonous?
December 01, 2008 - Is a scarlet buckeye poisonous? Anna
view the full question and answer

Is mulch from hackberry and chinaberry trees safe for flowerbeds?
September 17, 2014 - We had to remove several large hackberry and china berry trees. Is its mulch safe to use in garden and in flower beds?
view the full question and answer

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