Echinopepon wrightii – Wild Balsam Apple

Echinopepon wrightii - Wild Balsam Apple, Wright's Melon

Echinopepon wrightii - Wild Balsam Apple, Wright's Melon

Plant Name

Scientific Name: Echinopepon wrightii

Synonym: Elaterium wrightii

Common Names: Wild Balsam Apple, Wright's Melon

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Annual

Growth Habit: Vine, Herb/Forb

Arizona Native Status: Native

Habitat: Desert, Riparian. It grows in and along washes and in mountain foothill canyons.

Flower Color: White

Flowering Season: Summer, Fall

Height: Climbing to 5 feet (1.5 m) tall or more

Description: The plants are monoecious (having both male and female flowers). The pistillate flowers are solitary and the 1/3 inch (8 mm) wide staminate flowers are in racemes. The flowers have fused anthers and are broadly tubular with 5 glandular lobes. The flowers are followed by oval, 3/4 inch (2 cm) long, green fruit with long, hairy spines. The leaves are alternate, broadly heart-shaped, and only shallowly lobed. The stems are slender, hairy, and have twining, forked tendrils.


Kingdom: Plantae – Plants
Subkingdom: Tracheobionta – Vascular plants
Superdivision: Spermatophyta – Seed plants
Division: Magnoliophyta – Flowering plants
Class: Magnoliopsida – Dicotyledons
Subclass: Dilleniidae
Order: Violales
Family: Cucurbitaceae – Cucumber family
Genus: Echinopepon Naud. – balsam apple
Species: Echinopepon wrightii (A. Gray) S. Watson – wild balsam apple

More About This Plant

Arizona County Distribution Map