Wild Cucumber


In mid-winter a quick growing vine appears in the chaparral and coastal sage scrub and are quickly covered with little white flowers. This is the wild cucumber (Marah macrocarpa). While distantly related to cucumbers, along with watermelons and pumpkins, its seed pods look more like alien space pods than cucumbers (see below). These green spiky pods contain at least four large seeds. By the end of Spring, the plants began to die off, the pods drying brown and bursting, releasing its seeds. But this isn’t an annual plant. Underground is a large tuberous root that can weigh over a hundred pounds. Come next year’s rains and this root will send up more vines.


All photos by Alan Starbuck

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s