Vine growing randomly

Asked May 23, 2016, 12:37 AM EDT

This grows each spring but dies soon because of the bad soil it's in. This is the first time I've seen it produce anything. At first I thought it was grapes because of the flower bunches, but it has produced a striped, fuzzy.. Something. Do you know what it is?

Linn County Oregon

1 Response

Thank you for including the images with your inquiry. It has the detail and plant parts needed to identify the vine. Your mystery plant is wild cucumber, also called manroot, the technical name Marah oreganus. It’s a vining plant native to Oregon. It dies back because it’s a deciduous perennial, a plant which normally dies back to the ground every year.

The common name of “cucumber” is misleading because the fruit isn’t at all like an edible cucumber. After the fruit is full-grown, it is often dried and used in dry flower arrangements. The root can be extremely large; I’ve seen several exceeding 20 pounds.

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