Peaches-and-cream Tiny strikes a thoughtful pose out back atop the woodpile early morning.
At first we thought this sprawling vine crawling over the Lamium maculatum 'White Nancy' in the border along the base of the retaining wall was Wild Grape. But no. That's a squash-type flower, our Plant ID-ometer told us. A quick check with Newcomb's Wildflower Guide's key system led us gently down the garden path:
Vines Clinging by Tendrils
There are only three local plants that fill the bill, Grapes, Passionflowers and One-seeded Bur Cucumbers, and only the latter's description matched our own specimen's:
One-seeded Bur Cucumber (Sicyos angulatus) Stem covered with sticky hairs; small clusters of greenish-white flowers in the axils. Staminate flowers in long-stalked clusters; pitillate flowers in short-stalked clusters. Leaves broad, 5-lobed, heart-shaped at the base. Fruits prickly, 1/2" long, stalkless, in a small cluster. Riverbanks and moist thickets. Summer and fall. Gourd Family.
Three cheers for the Gourd Family (Cucurbitaceae), Mother of all Squashes! Smitten with its beauty and grit, we begged a determined Tuck not to weed the Bur Cucumber from atop the Lamium. He is right, of course. Give invasive species an inch and they demand a mile. Check out what they can do to a stand of corn:
Bur Cucumber in a field of corn. (Sikkema, Ridgetown College photo)
Who's the prettiest girl kitty ever was?
The Bur Cucumber's sprawling growth habit along the top of the Lamium, with Tiny front and center for scale.
The Bur Cucumber's tendrils called to mind that computer-generated image of leptin, the substance that signals to the brain the body has had enough to eat, or satiety, blogged here. Somebody stop us before we animate gifs again.
The flowers (x 4) of Lamium — Deadnettle by common name — are real show stoppers.
Did somebody say stop the show? Enter Babe, center stage, a scene stealer from way back.
Update: A boatful of show stopper's at Modulator's Friday Ark #206.