Plant/Vine Identification

(Question)

I have seen this vine growing in hydro right-of-way paths and in the naturalized areas of a golf course here in Toronto. The vine grows quite large and has odd looking, soft, prickly ovoid green “fruits” that hold the seeds in compartments. They are green now but later in the Fall will dry out and skeletonize. These pictures were taken last week. Can you please identify this plant for me and give advice on how to grow it?

(Answer)

You are not the only person to ask this question at this time of year.  This is Echinocystis lobata or wild cucumber or prickly cucumber. It is native to Ontario.  Some people identify it as invasive, but others say that this plant is decorative and controllable.  Here is a website with some good details and cultural information:  http://www.naturenorth.com/fall/cucumber/wildcucF2.html