Gourd Family (Cucurbitaceae)
Additional Gourds Native To North America
Most species in the gourd family are tropical and subtropical in their distribution. However, a few species occur in the north-temperate zone, including several native to North America. These wild plants are not eaten by people.
The creeping cucumber (Melothira pendula) is widespread in woods in the United States and south into Mexico. The bur-cucumber (Sicyos angulatus) occurs in moist habitats from southeastern Canada to Florida and Arizona.
The balsam apple or squirting cucumber ( Echinocystis lobata) is an annual, climbing plant that occurs in moist thickets and disturbed places over much of southern Canada and the United States. When the green, inflated, spiny fruits of the squirting cucumber are ripe, they eject their seeds under hydrostatic pressure so they are dispersed some distance away from the parent plant.
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Hvass, E. Plants That Serve and Feed Us. New York: Hippocrene Books, 1975.
Judd, Walter S., Christopher Campbell, Elizabeth A. Kellogg, Michael J. Donoghue, and Peter Stevens. Plant Systematics: A Phylogenetic Approach. 2nd ed. with CD-ROM. Suderland, MD: Sinauer, 2002.
Klein, R.M. The Green World. An Introduction to Plants and People. New York: Harper and Row, 1987.
Whitaker, T.W., and G.N. Davis. Cucurbits. Botany, Cultivation, and Utilization. New York: Interscience Pub., 1962.
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