Coccinia grandis (Linnaeus) Voigt
Cucurbitaceae (Gourd) Family
Known as Thai Spinch, the Ivy Gourd was first introduced to the world from Africa and Asia as a backyard food crop. Its preferred habitat is over other vegetation, across fences and power lines. Although Ivy Gourd requires cross-pollination between male and female plants, it is able to spread quickly and can grow up to four inches per day. The plant is a perennial climber with single tendrils.
The flowers are white; 5 petals that have wavy margins and measures about 1.5 inch wide; emerging from the axils on the petiole; 3 stamens. Typical of all plants in the cucumber family, it begins its fruit immediately after the bloom falls away.
The leaves are smooth; 5-lobed and 6.5 to 8.5 inches wide.
Fruit is small, resembling a cucumber or sometimes may be round, thus the reason for confusion with and incorrectly called Tinda Apple.
Considered very invasive, this gourd is often seen on the noxious weed list. The Division of Forestry and Wildlife and the Department of Land and Natural Resources has designated the species as invasive.