Look what I spied — a little cucurbit that has volunteered near the glass recycling center! This is the sort of serendipitous find that brings a smile and some questions. Where did the seed for this plant come from, and how did it get here? And will other curious botanizers leave it there to intrigue others visiting here to do their recycling?
Cucurbitaceae is the melon or gourd family. It’s a big family, and most members bear a strong family resemblance: vines with large yellow or white flowers, hairy pent angular (wow!) stems with tendrils at most nodes. Around here, we don’t see them often outside of gardens and grocery stores. And then there’s the occasional volunteer germinating in the compost heap. The fruit of a cucurbit is called a “pepo” — wonderful name! How many can you name? Watermelon, cantaloupe, zucchini, pumpkin .. the list goes on and on.