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PlantFiles: Creeping Cucumber, Guadeloupe Cucumber
Melothria pendula

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Family: Cucurbitaceae (koo-ker-bih-TAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Melothria (mel-OH-three-uh) (Info)
Species: pendula (PEND-yoo-luh) (Info)

Synonym:Melothria pendula var. pendula

2 members have or want this plant for trade.

Category:
Vines and Climbers

Height:
12-15 ft. (3.6-4.7 m)

Spacing:
18-24 in. (45-60 cm)

Hardiness:
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)
USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun
Sun to Partial Shade

Danger:
Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:
Bright Yellow

Bloom Time:
Blooms all year

Foliage:
Herbaceous
Shiny/Glossy-Textured

Other details:
May be a noxious weed or invasive
Self-sows freely; deadhead if you do not want volunteer seedlings next season

Soil pH requirements:
5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:
Non-patented

Propagation Methods:
From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall

Seed Collecting:
Bag seedheads to capture ripening seed
Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds
Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds

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to view:

By Floridian
Thumbnail #1 of Melothria pendula by Floridian

By Terry
Thumbnail #2 of Melothria pendula by Terry

By WillowWasp
Thumbnail #3 of Melothria pendula by WillowWasp

By Jeff_Beck
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Thumbnail #6 of Melothria pendula by Jeff_Beck

By pinke_paints
Thumbnail #7 of Melothria pendula by pinke_paints

There are a total of 13 photos.
Click here to view them all!

Profile:

10 positives
7 neutrals
5 negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

RatingAuthorContent
Negative rlgjr On Sep 16, 2013, rlgjr from Haysville, KS wrote:

We did not have these in our Area until after the 1999 Oklahoma - Wichita Tornado. They are now a wide spread noxious weed. They freely seed, produce an over abundance of fruit which the wildlife eat and deposit the seeds with a dose of fertilizer. When they sprout you need to quickly pull them. They are like a dandelion in that if you leave a partial root they will grow back. It is the only vine that I have seen the can out-compete Virgina Creeper, Poison Ivy and Honey Suckle.

I understand the fruit is tasty when they are light green similar to a very small water melon. It is also my understanding when they start to darken they can act like a powerful laxative. Like any wild fruit you need to know what you are eating.

Positive melangetulsa On Sep 10, 2013, melangetulsa from Mounds, OK wrote:

I love these little cucumbers! I have been calling them "cucamelons". Whatever they are, they are delicious. This year we have them growing in several areas. We usually just eat them right off the vine, but they are also wonderful in a salad.

Positive PammiePi On Aug 26, 2013, PammiePi from Green Cove Springs, FL wrote:

I love these plants! They grow as little vines in my side yard, and do not take over everything like many vines around here will. They are also rather attractive looking. On top of that they produce jelly-bean sized edible green mini "cucumbers". They not only smell like cukes but taste like them too. I find myself foraging on them (the green ones) when they are in fruit. Also, the butterflies, esp. the native Zebra Longwings, love the tiny yellow flowers.

Positive NicoleC On Mar 22, 2013, NicoleC from Madison, AL (Zone 7b) wrote:

A native, insubstantial vine with a fairly short lifespan. It grows on my chainlink fence in the summer and then fades away. It's an attractive vine with pretty small yellow flowers that the bees enjoy and small fruits.

I've not encountered any tendency to run rampant or harm other plants. Perhaps it's slightly too cold here for it to become perennial and I am only seeing small annual vines.

My dog also adores the fruit and will carefully eat every one she finds, which may explain why I have fewer and fewer plants each year.

Positive bofries3 On Jun 7, 2012, bofries3 from Burnet, TX wrote:

Yes, I live in Burnet, Tx and have just discovered this vine in my back yard. I am sure the birds have deposited here.
This is the first year that I have it in my yard and have not tasted it yet but may soon. It is first green and then turns white . I thought it was a birds egg at first on the ground and then noticed more on the vine and all connected. Very cute and small. Thanks for the pictures and helping to identify it. It took me about half an hour to find it. I have not seen any yellow flowers, maybe soon. I will keep it since I like birds and see if any of them will eat it.

Positive Reynardine On Apr 1, 2012, Reynardine from Lake Helen, FL wrote:

Locally, I've found several Melothria vines. The cukes are tasty and wholesome when eaten green, and if they only appeared earlier, would be choice with Florida pellitory. The local vines are not terribly vigorous, and could be container-grown. In South Florida, though, I've seen them cover fences. They must be eaten green and firm. I've made salads with the green sanditas, leaf lettuce, cherry or current tomatoes, chives, and dill or green coriander, the latter is good with a little blackmint. For hot weather, such a salad should be well-chilled.

Positive gadadhoon On Sep 17, 2011, gadadhoon from Collegedale, TN wrote:

There seems to be a lot of confusion about this plant. I will attempt to clear that up. I eat this plant on a regular basis, sometimes in fairly large quantities. The little green cucumbers are not poisonous, until they turn dark, at which point they are bitter and are a STRONG LAXATIVE. Every once in a while I eat one that's borderline, but the ones that are too ripe taste terrible so they're not that hard to avoid, just spit them out. I've never gotten any diarrhea from eating the fruit of this plant.

Neutral boddah On Feb 25, 2011, boddah from Accord, NY wrote:

RE: Green Deane

http://www.youtube.com/user/EatTheWeeds#p/u/51/VbHa_mqHnCc

Neutral BCMomma On Aug 26, 2010, BCMomma from Bossier City, LA wrote:

We have a wisteria plant that just would not go away. It's in a part of the yard we don't use, so instead of fighting it we decided to build a flowerbed to surround it. After a couple of months we noticed this unknown vine TAKING OVER. It's leaves were unusual, the vine looked & felt just like a cucumber vine. At first, like alot of people, we thought it was cudsue (sp?). But out of curiousity, & despite my husband's idea of killing it, I decided to let it grow. Last week my husband noticed small greenish fruit which have since turned yellow. He went immediately to the internet & discovered it's the creeping cucumber. Now we aren't really sure what we want to do with it. Some information state it is poisonous, others state it's edible. I'm all for trying new foods, but not willing to be a lab rat. Any suggestions?

Neutral JaxFlaGardener On Jul 24, 2010, JaxFlaGardener from Jacksonville, FL (Zone 8b) wrote:

I made the mistake of thinking the tiny yellow flowers on the delicate vine were attractive and let it grow. I soon found out how much space it wants; over, under and around ornamental shrubs such as azaleas.

However, I give it a "Neutral" rating because this is a native plant. Some critter somewhere may be dependent upon the vine or its fruit for sustenance, so I'm not on a rampage to totally eliminate it.

Jeremy

Negative ms_p1959 On Jul 18, 2010, ms_p1959 from Mccomb, MS wrote:

I planted my garden which consist of cucumbers, watermelon and lots of other veggies. I thought when these vines started growing everywhere close to my cucumbers that they came up from old seeds from the year before. Then when the fruit started coming, I thought OH MY GOSH Watermelons. Little did I know that they are Creeping Cucumbers as I have heard them called..... They have completely taken over the last five rows of my garden. Not real happy about this cause I enjoy growing other things and this was not on the list. Should have pulled these up when they first started....I will next year if I have the same issue.

Neutral Metrosideros On Jul 8, 2010, Metrosideros from Keaau, HI wrote:

Melothria pendula is not acutely poisonous, and some folks eat it. But still, caution should be used before considering eating this plant.

http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/depts/hort/consumer/poison/Melotpe.h...

Depending on the environment it is grown in, it can be more or less toxic.

Positive Tefoe On Jul 7, 2010, Tefoe from Lakeland, FL wrote:

The fruit is very tasty, if you guys would stop worrying about it covering your other plants and have a nice snack.............
Anyway, I am at the moment, trying very hard to get these to grow in my yard.. Iv had very little success..... The fruit are just like little watermelons like said, and with an immense cucumber taste..
They're not toxic, But DO NOT eat them when black or dark green(ripe), Green Dean did warn me....
I wanted to taste them ripe though..... Very nice plant, pretty and a food source!!

Neutral vossner On Jun 9, 2010, vossner from Richmond, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

This is a very fast growing vine. It had covered my large azalea shrub b4 I had noticed it and I inspect my gardens often. I don't know if it would choke my azalea, but I'm not going to let it grow to find out.

Positive frankentrina On Oct 7, 2009, frankentrina from Lockhart, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

When I was a kid in Houston, we had these growing all over a portion of our back fence, I would collect the fruits and pretend they were "watermelons" for my Barbies and dinosaurs to eat. I never knew what they were, but my dad always told me to be careful of wild plants, so I never are them or got the juice on my skin.

I recently found that they are a wild edible plant, with a flavor similar to green grapes, though I have not had a chance to try them for myself. I was delighted to find some vines growing along the creek at a local park recently and collected some mature fruits to start here.

As with most wild plants, the key is moderation. You should not make a meal of them, or eat more than a handful or so a day.

Positive WUVIE On Aug 6, 2007, WUVIE from Hulbert, OK (Zone 7a) wrote:

Thank you so much for this posting!

I'll admit, I love this little vine. If it grows where I
do not approve, an easy yank removes it all.

Negative Deadra On Sep 7, 2005, Deadra from Atlanta, GA (Zone 8a) wrote:

This vine has erupted in my shrub and flower beds just this season. Grows faster than I can get it out. I suspect that this plant seed was an unexpected benefit of my (now fired) landscaping company's pine straw. Kudzu has also appeared, so I'm really happy. If you dig out the base, will that keep the creeping cucumber from resprouting?

Negative DreamOfSpring On Feb 21, 2005, DreamOfSpring from Charleston, SC (Zone 9a) wrote:

A word of caution to anyone who is thinking about planting this vine. In my yard, this vine has been so invasive, I thought it was kudzu.

A few years ago it showed up in my yard. In a little over a month a tangled mat of this stuff had covered a small river birch (10-15') and everything under it.

Over the past few years it has continued to grow faster than I can pull it up. Worse, it has appeared in several additional places in my yard despite the fact that I am always careful to dispose of all parts of the plant in the trash! (I'm trying to start a batch of this stuff at the local landfill.)

Negative delecie On Sep 25, 2004, delecie from Homestead, FL (Zone 10b) wrote:

This plant suddenly appeared in my yard a few years ago and I have not been able to eradicate it. It pops up everywhere and it totally covers anything it grows on. My native Florida plants and some exotics are totally covered by this awful vine. If anyone knows how to permanently eradicate this plant, please share your information with me.

Neutral poppysue On Aug 27, 2004, poppysue from Westbrook, ME (Zone 5a) wrote:

In response to MotherNature4, various sites list the plant as mildly toxic. Although the berries maybe edible they're a strong laxative and can cause diarrhea when too many are ingested. "Poisonous" is not a very accurate for a description, but the user should be aware too much is not a good thing.

Neutral WillowWasp On Aug 25, 2004, WillowWasp from Jones Creek, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

I don't know a lot about this plant except it comes back every year. It is profilic and can cover a fence in a season. The little melons/cucumber are cute and make a nice trellis plant....

Positive MotherNature4 On Aug 9, 2004, MotherNature4 from Bartow, FL (Zone 9a) wrote:

I have checked many sites for poisonous plants, and it is NOT listed. Does anyone know the source of the above report? Guess too many could have be a laxative, but so could cucumber seeds.

These tasty little cucumbers can be used in salads just like cherry tomatoes. I have used them this way in moderation for years.

Once you get a start of them, they will come up on their own. They never seem to become a pest here in central Florida.

Regional...

This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

,
Madison, Alabama
Tuskegee, Alabama
Vincent, Alabama
Morrilton, Arkansas
Bartow, Florida
Gainesville, Florida
Green Cove Springs, Florida
Homestead, Florida
Jacksonville, Florida (3 reports)
Lake Helen, Florida
Lakeland, Florida
Naples, Florida
Ocala, Florida
Sarasota, Florida
Sebring, Florida
Winter Springs, Florida
Savannah, Georgia
Haysville, Kansas
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Bossier City, Louisiana
Mccomb, Mississippi
Broken Arrow, Oklahoma
Choctaw, Oklahoma
Hulbert, Oklahoma
Mounds, Oklahoma
Valliant, Oklahoma
Columbia, South Carolina
Summerville, South Carolina
Collegedale, Tennessee
Smithville, Tennessee
Colleyville, Texas
Dallas, Texas
Fort Worth, Texas
Garland, Texas
Houston, Texas
Lubbock, Texas
Luling, Texas
Nocona, Texas
Richmond, Texas
Syracuse, Utah
Saint Stephens Church, Virginia



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