Cucumbers gone wild!

Asked October 24, 2016, 7:40 PM EDT

I have quite a few volunteer cucumber plants after spreading a compost pile in my garden. When the cucumbers started sprouting they are all shapes and sizes (except what you would normally see!). Some are round like a small cannon ball. Some look like a watermelon, only smaller One looks like a football, and is almost the same size. Some are smooth on the outside and others are bumpy. Some have stripes, some are pale green and some are dark green. What happened? Are they safe to eat?

Polk County Florida

1 Response

It sounds like you have our native Creeping Cucumber, Melothria pendula. This Florida perennial is also called Guadeloupe Cucumber as well as Speckled Gourd. Supposedly, you can eat the young light green fruit but not the dark green or black fruit as it has a laxative effect.
University of Florida researchers are checking out whether there is a link between creeping cucumber and the squash vein yellowing virus that is attacking the state's watermelon crop. Florida is the leading producer of watermelons in the U.S., but the virus is plaguing growers. The theory is that creeping cucumber might be acting as a reservoir for the virus and transmitting it to the whiteflies that in turn infect watermelon plants.
No matter what, I prefer that this plant grow somewhere other than my landscape, as I find it spreads everywhere. A