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Wednesday, 20 September 2017

The clinging vine

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?




 

31 comments:

  1. A very interesting plant. It's always a shame to read that a plant that is so interesting is also invasive. I like to think of nature as beautiful and gentle. But nature can also be very cruel and harsh.

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    1. It is an interesting plant though it is invasive, Ratty. I have to admire its tenacity.

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  2. Oh my goodness. That is an invasive plant indeed. Pretty - but obviously with world domination plans.

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    1. Lol. After people are extinct on the planet, this plant will cover what remains, EC.

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  3. Invasive plants, they can and do lots of damage and it is very hard to get rid of. I wonder what will it look like in a few more years.

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  4. I was thinking it was a probable invasive plant when I saw that it was a vine. We have quite a few invasive plants here too, and it is really hard to control them. It's crazy!

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    1. Sheer determination and hard work is the only solution, Marilyn.

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  5. Now I am wondering if that is what I see here in places? Never heard it called that. Do the pollinators like it?

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    1. I can't find any info about the plant and pollinators and I haven't noticed much activity around the blooms, Tabor.

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  6. Yikes! Not the plant you want to find at your house!

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  7. I looked at that article's pictures and was astounded at how that plant covers everything! I hope you get rid of yours. Yikes indeed!

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    1. We don't have any in our yard yet, Jan. Thank goodness!

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  8. I wouldn't have known wild cucumber if it slapped me upside dah head, until now, with this post. Thank you. :)

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    1. Does wild cucumber grow where you live, SW?

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  9. Oh my gosh! I don't think he has any hope of getting rid of all that Marie, why on earth did he let it get so bad I wonder! It's a bit like the ivy on my back fence, it would absolutely take over if I let it.. it's a constant battle, but if looks so good I can't get rid of it ☺

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    1. I have an ivy behind the house too, PDP. I hope never to have wild cucumber to deal with however.

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  10. They are surely pretty! Sad that they are such a bad plant to have around. The fruit reminds me of a vegetable they have in Brazil. Well...we must stop these invasive plants or they will take over.

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    1. It takes research to know what is invasive. Such plants can certainly take over, Angela.

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  11. If they don't take drastic measures, that plant will suffocate them!!

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  12. OMG, Marie. You have just reminded me of the exact same type of creeper/vine in America's South called kudzu: "The plant climbs over trees or shrubs and grows so rapidly that it kills them by heavy shading." The plant has very large leaves, and so in that regard is much larger than your cucumber plant. I hadn't thought of that in the 8 years since living here in The Netherlands.

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    1. I've heard of kudzu, Ginnie, though I've never seen it.

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  13. I am unfamiliar with this, so I don't know if it's a thing here or not.

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  14. your images make this vine exceptionally beautiful. i don't love creeping vines or ivy in my yard, but it does look pretty at times. enjoy your sunday!!!

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    1. It is a pretty vine in spite of its proliferation, Debbie.

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  15. Yes, like Kudzu to the south, it is taking over.

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  16. We get that here too, but not enough that I'd consider it invasive. The seed pods are so neat.

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