Marah gilensis – Gila Manroot

Marah gilensis - Gila Manroot, Wild Cucumber (flowers)

Marah gilensis - Gila Manroot, Wild Cucumber (fruit)

Plant Name

Scientific Name: Marah gilensis

Common Names: Gila Manroot, Wild Cucumber

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial

Growth Habit: Vine, Herb/Forb

Arizona Native Status: Native

Habitat: Desert, Upland, Riparian. This plant grows along washes and streams, typically under mesquite trees or large shrubs.

Flower Color: Cream to greenish white

Flowering Season: Spring

Height: Twining to 6 feet (1.8 m) tall or more

Description: The flowers are 3/8 inches (10 mm) across and star-shaped with 5 round-tipped lobes. The flowers are followed by round, spiny, green melons that are up to 2 inches (5 cm) in diameter. The leaves are hairy, green, and palmately-lobed with 5 to 7 broad lobes. The stems are slender and climbing with twining tendrils. This plant grows from a very large underground tuber.


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: Marah Kellogg – manroot
Species: Marah gilensis Greene – Gila manroot

More About This Plant

Arizona County Distribution Map