pods from outer space

Can anyone help me out with identifying this plant?


I found lots of them growing on the edges of my yard. The plant is a single very thin vine with corkscrew tendrils that wrap around anything near it—trees, blackberry bushes, tall weeds. And the seed pods look like something from a science fiction movie. They're quite heavy for the size of the plant's stem and hang straight down. And they look fuzzy from a distance but are covered with green spikes. The seeds inside are suspended in a greenish goo and are about the size and shape of pumpkin seeds. In the young pods they're white; in the more mature ones they're brown like this:

pod : opened

I'm quite sure they're something I don't want growing in my yard because I can see them taking over (that science fiction movie thing again). I just want to know what they are. Anyone?


Thanks to K who identified this as Wild Cucumber (Echinocystis lobata). You can see more photos here.


K said...

It looks like wild cucumber (Echinocystis lobata)


janet said...

Thanks K, that's definitely it. They must be migrating south from Canada :)

Mary Beth Magee said...

That weed grows along the road to our rural school. Some years it is not there. The kids have a fun with it. Nice to finally know what it is, can't wait to tell them. Will be fun to research in life lab. We are in Central Ca along the coast.

Stasia said...

We have those, too, and I've been wondering for ages what they are. They look very pretty dried. Thanks for sharing the name - I was now able to learn this:


janet said...

Too funny, Stasia - porcupine eggs are a perfect description! And I can see how they'd squirt really well, too - they're pretty juicy inside.

Alyssa S. said...

Wow...very Invasion of the Body Snatchers :) I'm not sure I would have gotten that close!

Ruth B said...

Thank God it has been identified as something as harmless as a wild cucumber. I was a bit freaked out by the description you gave and my imagination went wild when I saw the picture. Pull it all out of the ground and then burn the ground they were growing in just in case. Jeez.

Renee said...

wow - they are amazing!