Late summer every year, we watch the progress of wild cucumber plants in specific areas, such as along the Confederation Trail and the Baywalk. The vines, annuals by nature, appear in August and quickly wend their way upward through branches of the affected trees.
They are pretty, with their feathery blooms and the tendrils
which latch on to everything. Their blooms stand out against the branches of their hosts. The leaves remind me of maple leaves.
The inedible seed pods are prickly spheres
full of seeds which eventually fall to the ground where they remain dormant until conditions are optimal for their germination. All seeds don't germinate every year and with the number of seeds in each pod, no wonder this plant is prolific.
To rid an area of the plants, one has to pull out the vines before they go to seed. Even then, it can take years to be rid of them, as seeds from previous years would continue to germinate.
Wild cucumber is invasive and detrimental to native species. They can cover trees, shading them from light, effectively killing them.
A recent article on the local CBC news, tells the story of one yard on Prince Edward Island which has been overrun by the clinging vine.
The photos tell the story.
Is his house next?