Melon-leaf Cucumber
(Five Lobe Cucumber - Five Lobe Melonleaf)
Cayaponia quinqueloba
Cucurbitaceae (Cucumber) Family

 

Plant is a climbing or sprawling perennial vine.  Preferred habitat is stream banks, flood zones, rich woods and the margin of ponds and bogs.  Distribution is throughout the Escambia coastal region.

Leaves are alternate on the stem, large, palm-like or heart-shaped in form, five lobes; dull green above and rough to the touch.  Each leaf lobe is pointed at the tip, minutely toothed. Underside is hairy and lighter in color. Leaf stalks are long and joined to the leaf between the lower lobes.

Flowers are small; five petals that are united at the base; male and female flowers borne separately but on the same plant; solitary or in a raceme arising from the leaf axil.  Flower stalks are shorter than the leaf stalks.  Sepals number 5 that are united at the base, up to 1/3 inch long; greenish white to yellow; 3 stamens; filaments twisted; 5 greenish white to yellow pistils. Flowers occur in the summer.

Fruit is an ovoid berry; green turning yellow and then red with age and maturity.

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