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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Christmas in October? The story of one Ibervillea lindheimeri plant

Author
item Davis, Angela

Submitted to: Cucurbit Network News
Publication Type: Trade Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: November 25, 2002
Publication Date: April 1, 2003
Citation: Davis, A.R. 2003. Christmas in October? The story of one Ibervillea lindheimeri plant. Cucurbit Network News. 10:2-3.

Technical Abstract: Upon further study I found that this dainty plant was in a genus with five other obscure New World species. I. lindheimeri (Globe berry) is a native to North America but has a fairly limited range. Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Arizona, and California are the only states in the U.S. that you're likely to find this plant in the wild. Globe berry's limited economic importance is slowly growing for ornamental purposes, a must for any backyard cucurbit fancier. The small elegant leaves can be unlobed or deeply 3 or 5-lobed and range from narrowly triangular to fan shaped. They may be toothed or small lobed. However the most ornamental aspect of this plant is its round green fruit with pale green stripes (25 to 35 mm) which turn orange and then vibrant red upon ripening. Since male and female blossoms are on separate plants, a cucurbit fancier will have to grow both sexes to benefit from the fruit's decorative appearance. One mature female plant can easily have 40 or more fruit. Globe berry is a strong climbing vine up to 4 m long with few branches and a perennial rootstock. It is identified in the wild by its small leaves and fruit (mentioned above). Other identifying characteristics are slender branching stems, and flowers. Five to eight small (6-8 mm x 2 mm) slightly pubescent tubular male flowers with 3 stamens are present in racemes. The female flowers have 3 stigma and are solitary. The flowers have five yellow or greenish-yellow petals that are not ornate. The fruit contain around 10 swollen seeds (about 6 mm in diameter) with thick margins. The plants are usually found in open dry woodlands and open areas with rocky soil. We are currently propagating these seeds for submission to the USDA germplasm bank for safekeeping.

Last Modified: 10/31/2014