Echinocystis, a stranger's story, cultivation and use

Echinocystis, a stranger's story, cultivation and use

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Very often, passing by a fence or a gazebo, you can pay attention to a climbing plant with white flowers or thorny fruits - hedgehogs. We will try to understand the history of its appearance, application and cultivation.


  • How echinocystis appeared in European and Asian nature
  • Prickly carp, botanical description
  • How to plant and grow echinocystis

How echinocystis appeared in European and Asian nature

Echinocystis, also known as prickly fruit, is a genus of plants that belongs to the Pumpkin family. The homeland of the plant is North America. There is information that in the homeland the plant belongs to medicinal. The decoction of the roots is used as a pain reliever. In Europe and Asia, the plant appeared at the same time. In the Asian part, the appearance was noted at the beginning of the last century.

Most likely imported directly from the USA and Canada. The plant immediately spread in the vicinity of Vladivostok and began to move towards Siberia. In the European part, at the beginning of the last century, only point centers of distribution were noted, where, possibly, the plant came from private collections. Before World War II, small foci were noted:

  • in Germany
  • in Hungary
  • in Romania
  • in Austria
  • in the Czech Republic

Secondarily, the plant was introduced during the war by American troops. For several decades, the prickly fruit was mastering European countries, from where it moved to Moldova, Belarus and began to advance to Moscow. In the seventies, the plant was actively used in landscaping in the Moscow region and from there it moved to the southern regions. It was noted that the plant runs wild quickly enough and perfectly exists without human intervention.

The final phase of wildness is the appearance of rivers and streams in the coastal zone. The plant feels great, winding around the coastal bushes. It may well compete for soil and light with both shrubs and trees. It is currently considered a very aggressive invader species.

Prickly carp, botanical description

Belonging to the Pumpkin family and the very name of the plant allows us to represent its appearance. The stems are represented by long, lodging shoots that need vertical support. They master any vertical objects very quickly. The root is fibrous, superficial. Lobed leaves, rather strongly cut. There can be three - five- and seven-bladed.

The plant has both male and female flowers at the same time. Male, staminate flowers are small, collected in loose brushes. The brushes are directed upwards. The female, pistillate flowers are much larger than the staminate ones and are always located below the staminate ones. Corolla of flowers are white, light cream or white - green. The fruit is a pumpkin, egg-shaped. The size is up to 5 - 6 cm. The color at the beginning of ripening is gray-green, then - green. From above, the fruit is covered with bristly outgrowths.

The outgrowths at the beginning of ripening are soft. Inside, among the mucous contents, there are two hard seeds. In normal weather, the fruit opens and the heavy seeds fall into the ground. It is noteworthy that sometimes, especially on rainy days, the shell of the fruit overflows with liquid and under its pressure they explode, scattering seeds for several meters. Sometimes because of this property, the plant is called mad cucumber, although it is a completely different species.

Blooming echinocystis on video:

And even, perhaps, two types. One of them, the Common Crazy Cucumber, belongs to the same family as the prickly fruit and is also capable of shooting seeds. The flowers are large enough, single pistillate flowers, similar to the flowers of a squash or pumpkin. Seeds are small, no more than 4 mm. This plant differs from the prickly fruit. The second plant is momordica, which is also a relative of all pumpkin seeds. Mad cucumber is called momordica, apparently because of the very bitter taste of ripe fruits.

The seeds of the prickly carp are large enough, up to 15-16 mm. Flattened, dark brown, sometimes almost black. They look like pumpkin seeds. Flowering time early summer - early autumn. Fruit ripening time - September - October. It does not matter as an edible plant, but its unripe fruits are quite edible. Although no one eats them, they contain many useful substances.

The plant is used most often for vertical gardening or as a honey plant that blooms all summer. The honey is almost colorless and very aromatic. Collect bees and plant pollen. A significant plus of this honey plant is long flowering. If Echinocystis nevertheless interested you, then it is quite simple to grow it.

How to plant and grow echinocystis

Seeds are needed to grow. It is optimal to plant freshly harvested seeds immediately after harvesting before winter. It is advisable to determine the place of planting right away, since the plant does not tolerate transplanting well and at the slightest damage to the roots, it dies. The prickly plant is planted in a nesting way, two seeds per nest. Since vertical support is needed for growth, plantings should be placed near:

  • fence
  • outbuildings
  • gazebos or verandas
  • vertical slopes

It is important that the soil is as light and loose as possible. The reaction is closer to neutral. On strongly acidic and heavy soil with excessive moisture, the plant develops extremely poorly and it is unlikely that beautiful and healthy greens with lush flowering will turn out.

Embed it into the ground to a depth of 2-3 cm, but you can leave it without embedding, just press it slightly into the ground.

You can either immediately leave a sufficiently large distance of up to 50 - 90 cm, or in the spring you will have to thin out the seedlings. The plant does not need special care; weeding and watering in dry weather is enough. If the choice is made in favor of the prickly fruit, then you can buy its seeds in seed stores, including on the Internet.

Watch the video: The Green Wall - Educational Vertical Garden Bottle System Project (May 2022).