Contact Us Host an Event 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

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

Native plants and possible poisonous plants in Aguanga, California
August 31, 2009 - I am in the process of moving to Aguanga California. I am interested in knowing what the native plants are in that area. Are they poison to animals and kids?
view the full question and answer

Skin irritation caused by hydrangea in Monroe GA
July 06, 2009 - Can Queen Anne Lace hydrangea cause a skin irritation such as poison ivy or oak? I picked up a branch that had broken off to discard and the following day I have a place on my arm about six inches lon...
view the full question and answer

Pruning the leaves of Sago Palm.
March 10, 2010 - Is it a cardinal sin to remove all the sago palm branches? This winter they were so badly scorched by the cold that hardly a frond went unaffected. So I cut them all off as I needed to get around the...
view the full question and answer

Mosaic virus in Poke Salad in East Texas
April 20, 2008 - I live in a rural East Texas, and have an abundance of Poke Salad. If you know how to prepare it, it's a springtime treat for anyone who enjoys veggies. However, for the last few years, many of the o...
view the full question and answer

Are Chanticleer flowering pears toxic to horses?
March 28, 2010 - Are Chanticleer flowering pears toxic to horses?
view the full question and answer

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