wild cucumber

(Echinocystis lobata)

Conservation Status
wild cucumber
Photo by Alfredo Colon
  IUCN Red List

not listed


N5 - Secure

SNR - Unranked


not listed

Wetland Indicator Status
  Great Plains

FAC - Facultative


FACW - Facultative wetland

  Northcentral & Northeast

FACW - Facultative wetland


Wild cucumber is an annual, herbaceous, high-climbing vine. It has separate male and female flowers, both appearing on the same plant.

The stems are hairless and can extend 15 to 25.

The tendrils are branched.

The leaves are alternate and are attached to the vine on long leaf stalks. They are 2¾ to 5 long. They have 3 to 7 but usually 5 sharply-trialgular lobes with pointed tips. The margins have tiny, widely-spaced teeth.

The male and female flowers are borne separately from the same leaf axils. The male inflorescence is a 12 to 16 long, erect cluster of many flowers. The female inflorescence is a solitary flower or a pair of flowers.

The flowers are white or greenish-white, about wide, and star-shaped. They have 6 thin, long petals.

The fruits are attached individually. Each fruit is a green, inflated, egg-shaped capsule. It is 1 to 2 long and is covered with soft prickles. It contains 4 seeds.




Climbimg: 15 to 25 long


Flower Color


White or greenish-white


Similar Species


Bur cucumber (Sicyos angulatus) leaves are more shallowly-lobed. The flowers have 5 petals. The fruit is smaller, no more than long; is not inflated; and contains only 1 seed.

Canada moonseed (Menispermum canadense) leaves are more shallowly-lobed. The leaf stalk attaches to the blade a little less than ½ inside the margin.


Wet to moist. Riverbottoms, streambanks, thickets, woods, roadsides.




July to September


Pests and Diseases






Distribution Map



2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 24, 28, 29, 30.









  Kingdom Plantae (green algae and land plants)  
  Subkingdom Viridiplantae (green plants)  
  Infrakingdom Streptophyta (land plants and green algae)  
  Superdivision Embryophyta (land plants)  
  Division Tracheophyta (vascular plants)  
  Subdivision Spermatophytina (seed plants)  
  Class Magnoliopsida (flowering plants)  
  Superorder Rosanae  


Cucurbitales (begonias, gourds, and allies)  


Cucurbitaceae (gourd)  
  Subfamily Cucurbitoideae  
  Tribe Sicyoeae  



Subordinate Taxa






Echinocystis echinata

Micrampelis echinata

Micrampelis lobata

Momordica echinata

Sicyos lobata

Sicyos lobatus


Common Names




mock cucumber


prickly cucumber

wild balsamapple

wild balsam-apple

wild cucumber

wild cucumber vine

wild mock cucumber

wild mockcucumber













The upper angle where the leaf stalk meets the stem.

Visitor Photos

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Alfredo Colon

    wild cucumber   wild cucumber  
    wild cucumber   wild cucumber  
MinnesotaSeasons.com Photos


    wild cucumber      


    wild cucumber      


    wild cucumber   wild cucumber  


    wild cucumber      



  Echinocystis lobata (Wild Cucumber)
Allen Chartier
  Echinocystis lobata (Wild Cucumber)  



Visitor Videos

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Other Videos
  Wild Cucumber

Uploaded on Mar 19, 2010

- A very odd plant. This plant grows big spicky fruits.

  Weed of the Week #855 - Wild Cucumber (Air Date 8/23/14)
AgPhD's channel

Published on Aug 29, 2014

It's our Weed of the Week, Wild Cucumber (which in no way can be turned into Wild Pickles).

  Wild Cucumber (Echinocystis lobata)

Uploaded on Aug 24, 2011

http://www.prairiemoon.com Wild Cucumber is an annual native vine reaching lengths of 20' or more with very delicate white flowers late summer. The 'cucumber' appears early fall and drops large seeds, repeating the cycle.

  Soldier beetle forages on wild cucumber
Robert Klips

Uploaded on Aug 26, 2011

The Pennsylvania leatherwing, Chauliognathus pensylvanicus (Cantharidae) is a soldier beetle that is very common on flowers. Here, an individual as apparently foraging for pollen on the staminate flowers of wild cucumber, Echinocystis lobata growing along a road in Delaware County, Ohio, USA on August 26, 2011.

  Wild Cucumber
Mike Kennedy

Published on Sep 7, 2014

I find a wild cucumber plant. Not edible! check here for great info: http://www.naturemanitoba.ca/botany/wildPlants/WildCucumber.pdf




Visitor Sightings

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  Alfredo Colon

Location: Woodbury, Minnesota

wild cucumber  
  Alfredo Colon

Location: Woodbury, Minnesota

wild cucumber  
  Alfredo Colon

Location: Woodbury, Minnesota

wild cucumber  
  Nina Salveson
8/23 and 8/24/2018

Location: Highway 5 and Cty Hwy 10 between Waconia and Chaska - its everywhere and completely blanketing trees, pines, maples and shrubs. I also see it from Hwy 5 on the U-MN Landscape Arboretum property.

Will this harm the beautiful trees it is engulfing and completely covering?

  John Valo

The vines are weak, so I would not expect the tree to be damaged by it. However, it is considered a weed, it is unsightly in a yard, and it will return next year. Wild cucumber is easy to control by pulling the vine, preferably before it goes to seed.

  Matt Trost

Location: My Yard, Coon Rapids, MN

I will be killing the plant as we have pets who like vegetables.

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