Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Fivelobe Cucumber - Cayaponia quinqueloba   (Raf.) Shinners
Members of Cucurbitaceae:
Only member of Cayaponia in NC.
Google Images
Section 6 » Family Cucurbitaceae
Author(Raf.) Shinners
DistributionThe only hard evidence of this species in NC is a specimen collected by Moses Ashley Curtis from "N.C."; specimen at NYBG, annotated by M. Nees in 2010. This specimen was brought to our attention in 2022 by Keith Bradley of SC. There are 11 known counties of occurrence throughout SC and thus it is likely that the NC population was native. The range map below must remain white, until the editors learn of the location of the collection.

Southern NC to central FL, west to eastern TX, southern IL, and western TN. Most records from the Mississippi River Basin. Also neotropics?
AbundanceCurtis was a well-known botanist who lived solely in the 19th Century, and thus the NC collection was in the middle 1800s. Normally such a long time since the last record in the state -- perhaps 170 years! -- would be reason to consider the species gone from the state with a State Rank of SX. However, the species occurs at present not too far south of the border in northern and central SC, and in central TN. Thus, it could certainly still occur somewhere in NC, such as very close to the SC border along the Pee Dee River. Thus, the editors recommend a State Rank of SH (Historical), with at least some possibility of re-discovery.
HabitatUnknown in NC; elsewhere it occurs in swamp forests and openings.
PhenologyFlowers and fruits from June to frost.
IdentificationThis is a trailing or clambering vine, with alternate leaves, each palmately parted into 3 or 5 lobes; the middle lobe is typically narrowed at the base. The leaves are entire, about 3 inches long and wide. It has small white flowers in leaf axils, singly or in small clusters. It is the only member of its genus in the Carolinas and thus should be recognizable, at least to people familiar with it.
Taxonomic CommentsA synonym is C. boykinii, as used in RAB (1968).

Other Common Name(s)Five-lobed Cucumber, Melon-lobed Cucumber, Five-lobe Cayaponia
State RankSH
Global RankG4
State StatusSR-P
US Status
County Map - click on a county to view source of record.

View Mapping Selection Options