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‹ Growing Native with Petey Mesquitey

Marah gilensis

April 28, 2020

Marah gilensis
Growing Native with Petey Mesquitey

00:00 / 00:04:27

There are several species of Marah found in the western US, but only M. gilensis in Arizona. I call it wild cucumber, but another common name is manroot, after the arm like protuberances found on the very large tuberous root if you were to dig it up.  That name makes me and my son-in-law Jared giggle. We will always be third graders.

I thought it was fascinating that the genus Marah is from the Hebrew for bitter. Marah, the town, shows up in Exodus. The traveling and very thirsty Israelites could not drink the bitter water from the well in Marah. When I looked up the other species Marah I found that all parts of the plant had uses among the indigenous tribes of southern Canada to northwestern Mexico, from the bitter root to the fruit. Pretty cool.

I forgot to say that Marah is in the gourd family, Cucurbitaceae. It’s monoecious just like the squash or gourds you grow in your garden. So male flower and female flowers on the same plant. Think Ozzie and Harriet; same room, but separate beds.

The photos are mine of the fruit and of a mass of wild cucumber vine covering a littleleaf sumac.


Cucurbitaceae,   Growing Native,   manroot,   Marah gilensis,   Petey Mesquitey,   wild cucumber,  


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