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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.

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

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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!

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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

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