Virginia Tech Weed Identification Guide

Burcucumber: Sicyos angulatus

Weed Description: A  summer annual climbing vine that closely resembles cucumber plants, especially during the early stages of growth. Vining stems often climb by way of tendrils. Found from the east coast to Florida and west to Minnesota, Kansas and Texas.

Roots:  Fibrous.

Seedling:  Cotyledons very closely resemble those of ordinary cucumber cotyledons, are thick and oblong, with many spreading hairs on the top and bottom.  The stem below the cotyledons (hypocotyl) is also covered with many short hairs that typically point downward.

Stems:  Stems are hairy especially at the leaf nodes, longitudinally ridged, and climb by way of branched tendrils.

Leaves:  Alternate, 2-8 inches long, 2-8 inches wide, hairy, broadly heart shaped with 5 pointed lobes and a toothed margin.

Flowers:  Whitish to green, with 5 sepals and 5 petals.

Fruit:  Produced in clusters of 3-20, and resemble very small cucumbers covered with long bristles.

Identifying Characteristics:   Vining plant with 5-lobed leaves and small, spiny fruit that resemble cucumbers. This plant may very easily be confused with wild cucumber (Echinocystis lobata).   However, wild cucumber has more deeply lobed leaves that are almost star-shaped, stems that are rarely hairy, and flowers that have 6 sepals and 6 petals.   Burcucumber might also be confused with Japanese Hops (Humulus japonicus), however this weed does not have tendrils and has downward-pointing prickles on the stems.