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Echinocystis lobata - (Michx.)Torr.&A.Gray.

Common Name Wild Cucumber
Family Cucurbitaceae
USDA hardiness Coming soon
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Rich soils by streams[43]. Thickets[222].
Range Eastern N. America - Saskatchewan and southwards.
Edibility Rating    (0 of 5)
Other Uses    (0 of 5)
Weed Potential Yes
Medicinal Rating    (1 of 5)
Care (info)
Moist Soil Full sun
Echinocystis lobata Wild Cucumber
Echinocystis lobata Wild Cucumber


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Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of flower
Echinocystis lobata is a ANNUAL growing to 8 m (26ft 3in) at a fast rate.
It is frost tender. It is in leaf from May to October, in flower from July to September. The species is monoecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but both sexes can be found on the same plant) and is pollinated by Insects. The plant is self-fertile.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


Sicyos lobata.


 Cultivated Beds;

Edible Uses

None known


Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.
Analgesic  Aphrodisiac  Poultice  Tonic

The pulverized root is used as a poultice for headaches[61, 222]. A very bitter tea brewed from the roots is analgesic and is also used as a love potion[61, 207, 222]. It is used as a bitter tonic for alleviating stomach troubles, kidney ailments, rheumatism, chills, fevers etc[61, 222, 257].


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Other Uses


The seeds have been used as beads[257].

Special Uses


Cultivation details

Prefers a sunny position in a well-drained rich soil with abundant moisture[1, 175]. Succeeds in ordinary garden soil[175]. A climbing plant, supporting itself by means of tendrils[219].


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Seed - sow early spring in a rich compost in a greenhouse, placing 2 - 3 seeds in each pot. The seed usually germinates within 1 - 2 weeks at 20°c. Thin the seedlings to the best plant in each pot, grow them on fast and plant them out after the last expected frosts[175]. Give the plants some protection, such as a cloche, until they are growing away well.

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.


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Botanical References


Links / References

For a list of references used on this page please go here

Readers comment

   Fri Jul 28 2006

I have used the juice from the fruit of this plant as an insect repellent

Bill Greer   Sun Jul 1 2007

We have a specimen that has been identifed as this plant, but after searching the internet and not finding EXACTLY how the fruit looks, I am wondering just what we have here. We live in Sumner, WA, near a river bank and our specimen was found to resemble the prickly pictures, except they are not prickly, the "prickles" are more like rubbery nubs. More oblong shaped than round, with several large almost nickle sized seeds inside. Are these fruits possibly just not mature? Any information will be helpful. Thank you, Bill Greer,

Megan   Tue Aug 14 2007

Because there is more than one "Wild Cucumber," even in your database, you might want to cross reference them since one is edible one is not. Pictures are also helpful! Luckily I did a Google image search for Streptopus amplexifolius and Wild Cucumber and found some people calling the Wild Cucumber a Bur Cucumber, and that there were a few other types of Wild Cucumbers as well. Thank goodness for Latin names!!! Has great images of Sicyus angulatus and Echinocytstis lobata which in the end lead me back to you to look up Echinocytstis lobata. Thanks for the info. Your site is helpful, but had I not also looked for latin name images I would probably had poisoned myself by eatting the “Wild Cucumber” I thought was Streptopus amplexifolius (I know that as False Solomon’s Seal) when it is really Echinocystis lobata. Thank goodness for Latin names and image searches!!!

jed   Thu Jan 14 2010

im doing a project on this plant and i have foun alot of stuff about it. For part of the project i had to go out and find it

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