Cucurbitaceae2017-08-17T15:28:07+00:00

Cucurbitaceae: Gourd Family

Wild Cucumber / California Man-root – Marah fabacea

Blooms:

Feb–Apr

Plant Height:

Vine

Flower Size:

Small / Medium

Origin:

Native

Habitat:

Shrubby open areas, streamsides

Notes:

A common and aggressive vine which produces clusters of small (usually 5-petaled) cream to white flowers followed by large, prickly fruit. The plant is monoecious. The clusters of small flowers are the male, the female flower (when present) is single, a little below the cluster of male flowers, a little larger and immediately recognizable by the prickly ovary which quickly develops into the plant’s fruit. Sometimes known as Manroot, supposedly because the root is as big as a man’s torso. The right hand picture shows a modest sized-root which was 2 feet long and 1 foot wide.

Calabazilla – Cucurbita foetidissima

Blooms:

June–Aug

Plant Height:

Stems trailing

Flower Size:

Medium

Origin:

Native

Habitat:

Sandy, gravelly places, Diablo Range

Notes:

A native gourd, the stem branches attaching to other plants by tendrils.  Leaves are triangular-ovate, 15–30 cm long, coarse and ill-smelling.  Flowers are yellow, 9–12 cm long.  The fruit is spheric, 7–8 cm across, green, mottled with white stripes.