Ontario Wildflowers website

Wild Cucumber
Echinocystis lobata

Wild Cucumber (Echinocystis lobata) Other common names: Balsam Apple, Prickly Cucumber, Wild Balsam Apple

Other scientific names: Micrampelis lobata, Momordica echinata, Sicyos lobata

French names: Éhinocystis lobé

Family: Gourd Family (Cucurbitaceae)

Distinctive features: Vine. Stubby, cucumber-like fruits (sort of).

Similar species:
  •   Canada Moonseed (Menispermum canadense) - woody vine, leaves not as lobed.

  •   One-seeded Bur Cucumber (Sicyos angulatus) - smaller fruit, 5-petalled flowers.

Flowers: Summer;  White;  6 parts (petals);  Mid to late summer (July-August).

Leaves: Alternate, Simple

Height: Vine.

Stem: Vine.

Fruit/Seeds: Soft-prickly oval sphere, with hard dry seeds inside. Opens at the bottom when ripe and the seeds then fall out.

Habitat: Forests, Fields and Open Areas, Thickets;  Open forest edges.

Grows in Sun/Shade: Sun

Books: Newcomb's Wildflower Guide: 356    Peterson's Field Guide to Wildflowers: 76   

Native/Non-native: Native

Status:   S-Rank: S5  G-Rank: G5

Origin and Meaning of Names:
 Scientific Name: lobata: lobed

Photographs: 90 photographs available, of which 15 are featured on this page. SCROLL DOWN FOR PHOTOGRAPHS.

Range Map is at the bottom of the page

Wild Cucumber (Echinocystis lobata)

The white flowers grow in upright racemes.

Wild Cucumber (Echinocystis lobata)

A nice raceme of flowers. They can sometimes look sort of frilly, almost like those of Virgin's Bower (Clematis virginiana).

Wild Cucumber (Echinocystis lobata)

Wild Cucumber (Echinocystis lobata)

Closeup of the flowers. Note there are 6 petals.

Wild Cucumber (Echinocystis lobata)

A nice view of a plant climbing a Colorado Spruce (Picea pungens) tree, shows a series of upright racemes of flowers.

Wild Cucumber (Echinocystis lobata)

A whole mess of flowers!

Wild Cucumber (Echinocystis lobata)

The cucumber-like fruits that give this plant its common name.

Wild Cucumber (Echinocystis lobata)

A fruit just starting to develop from a flower.

Wild Cucumber (Echinocystis lobata)

A ripe fruit. It is actually a hollow bladder, with a few shiny hard black seeds inside. These seeds fall out of openings in the bottom.

Wild Cucumber (Echinocystis lobata)

A view inside an empty fruit bladder.

Wild Cucumber (Echinocystis lobata)

Wild Cucumber (Echinocystis lobata)

A typical leaf. Note the five lobes.

Wild Cucumber (Echinocystis lobata)

Leaves on the vine.

Wild Cucumber (Echinocystis lobata)

This vine climbs by means of long tendrils that curl tightly around whatever they come into contact with.

Wild Cucumber (Echinocystis lobata)

A seedling in May.

Range map for Wild Cucumber (Echinocystis lobata)

PLEASE NOTE: A coloured Province or State means this species occurs somewhere in that Province/State.
The entire Province/State is coloured, regardless of where in that Province/State it occurs.

(Range map provided courtesy of the USDA website and is displayed here in accordance with their Policies)