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Accepted Scientific Name: Ibervillea lindheimeri (A.Gray) Greene
Erythea 3: 75 1895.
Origin and Habitat: Coastal Texas (Cameron, Hidalgo, Willacy, and Starr counties ) west to eastern New Mexico, north to Oklahoma; Mexico.
Habitat and ecology: Fairly frequent on sandy soils, mostly in coastal oak woods, but also on a variety of soil types in rocky hills and fences, at edges of thickets and in open woods. The seeds are eaten by scaled quail, and the leaves are occasionally eaten by white-tailed deer.
- Ibervillea lindheimeri (A.Gray) Greene
Ibervillea lindheimeri (A.Gray) Greene
Erythea 3: 75 1895.
- Ibervillea lindheimeri (A.Gray) Greene
- Ibervillea tenella (Naudin) Small
- Ibervillea tripartita (Naudin) Greene
Ibervillea lindheimeri var. tenuisecta (A.Gray) M.C.Johnst
Wrightia 2(6): 251 1963
- Ibervillea lindheimeri var. tenuisecta (A.Gray) M.C.Johnst
ENGLISH: Balsam gourd, Globeberry, Globe Berry, Globe berries, Lindheimer's globeberry, Wild balsam, Wild balsam-apple, Deer apple
SPANISH (Español): Yerba de vibrona
Description: Ibervillea lindheimeri is a slender perennial, trailing or climbing vine with tendrils, growing from a large caudex, it produces small hardly noticeable, yellow flowers in summer and showy, bright orange-to-red melons 2-3.5 cm in diameter in autumn. The fruits are more noticeable than the flowers and visible at eye level, or higher, in the trees. The dark green, lobed leaves are scattered along the branching stems, giving the vine a delicate appearance. You don't have to worry about it getting out of hand, because it dies to the ground in the winter. Ibervilleas are often grown in containers with the caudex exposed.
Derivation of specific name: Ibervillea lindheimeri was named in honor of Ferdinand Jacob Lindheimer, a prominent botanist in the nineteenth century.
Caudex: The caudex (swollen tuberous roots) is thick nearly globose or somewhat flattened up to 35 cm in diameter in older plants. Injured caudexs release the odour of horseradish.
Stems: Wiry, slightly angled, glabrous, dark green herbaceous, annual, that die to the ground in the winter, sprawling on the ground or climbing onto various supports by means of unbranched tendrils.
Leaves: Alternate, blades 2-8 cm wide, thick, glabrous above and pustulate-glandular below; very variable on shepe, broadly cuneate, or rhombic-ovate, mostly 3- to 5-lobed, often wider than long, angled to irregularly and often deeply lobed (palmately dissected), each lobe, in turn, lobed. Margins with widely spaced, whitish papillae.
Flowers: Axillary, yellow or greenish-yellow, unisexual (dioecious), male and female flowers growing on separate plants. Male flowers mostly in racemose clusters. Corolla radial, 12-25 mm wide, yellow. Calyx tube of male flowers cylindric, 6-10 mm long, Sepals 5, united., yellow-green. Stamens 3, epipetalous. Pistillate flowers solitary, with sepals and petals similar similar to the staminate flowers but pubescent on the inner surfaces. Ovary inferior; stigma 3-lobed.
Blooming season: Spring to late summer (April—September).
Fruits: 20-35 mm wide, globose, like a miniature melon, orange or red when ripe but green with pale mottled stripes early. Pulp yellowish filled with plump seeds. The thin-skinned, fleshy fruit is not edible.
Subspecies, varieties, forms and cultivars of plants belonging to the Ibervillea lindheimeri group
- Ibervillea lindheimeri (A.Gray) Greene: has leaves broadly cuneate, or rhombic-ovate, mostly 3- to 5-lobed, often wider than long, angled, cylindric. Calyx tube 6-10 mm long, and fruits 25-35 mm wide. Distribution Texas, New Mexico,Oklahoma amd Mexico.
- Ibervillea lindheimeri var. tenuisecta (A.Gray) M.C.Johnst: has lobes of the leaf-blades usually irregolarly and narrowly lobed, shorter campanulate calyx tube, only 3-7 mm long, and smaller fruits 18-24 mm wide. Distribution: South USA and Northern Mexico.
Bibliography: Major references and further lectures
1) George Oxford Miller “Landscaping with Native Plants of Texas” 2nd Edition MBI Publishing Company, 25 February 2013
2) Roy L. Lehman, Ruth O'Brien, Tammy White “Plants of the Texas Coastal Bend” Texas A&M University Press, 27/Feb/2009
3) Delena Tull, George Oxford Miller “A Field Guide to Wildflowers, Trees & Shrubs of Texas” Gulf Publishing Company, 01/Nov/1991
4) Alfred Richardson “Plants of Deep South Texas: A Field Guide to the Woody and Flowering Species” Texas A&M University Press, 2011
5) Delena Tull, George Oxford Miller “Lone Star Field Guide to Wildflowers, Trees, and Shrubs of Texas” Taylor Trade Publishing, 23 giu 2003
6) “Contributions from Texas Research Foundation”, Volume 6 Texas Research Foundation, 1970
7) Elaine Nowick “Historical Common Names of Great Plains Plants, with Scientific Names Index: Volume II: Scientific Names Index” Lulu.com, 01 October 2014
8) J. H. Everitt, Dale Lynn Drawe, Robert I. Lonard “Field Guide to the Broad-leaved Herbaceous Plants of South Texas: Used by Livestock and Wildlife” Texas Tech University Press, 1999
9) Zoe Merriman Kirkpatrick “Wildflowers of the Western Plains: A Field Guide” University of Texas Press, 01 January 1992
Cultivation and Propagation: This plant is suited to greenhouse culture, but does well out of doors in Mediterranean climate, it responds well to cultivation and can eventually make a wonderfully unusual houseplant. Indoors they are often grown in shallow pots, with a tuft of wining stems emerging from a bulbous stem that seems to erupt from the soil. It is a plant for people who don't want a lot of work taking care of their plants, as it seems to thrive on neglect. Plants even five to ten years old are extremely nice.
Growth rate: The plants are very slow growing, so don't expect great growth spurts from year to year.
Growing substrata: Grows in a rich, very well drained, preferably stony and drained soil mix.
Watering needs: It is very drought tolerant, water deeply but infrequently in summer. It doesn't like a wet winter when the tuber is dormant (after shedding its leaves), but will survive. Over-watering is the most frequent cause of failure when growing Ibervillea, and should be kept on the dry side. It will start growing again in Spring. Watering can recommence once the plant has shown signs of producing a fresh shoot. Sometimes it ignores its proper growing seasons (from spring to autumn) and keeps its vines growing long into its rest period, or sends up new vines much earlier than expected. In that case, paying attention to the plant and not the calendar is a good idea.
They are pretty resistant to rotting if all other conditions are good.
Fertilization: Fertilize them only once during this period.
Exposition: Keep the root in the shade, light shade to full sun for the vine.
Hardiness: When it drops its leaves protect from frost and stop watering. It is hardy to -7 degrees Celsius if kept dry. However warmth throughout the year will increase the grower's success (at temperatures from 5 to 10 degrees centigrade during rest season).
Maintenance: Remove the spent branches. Leaf tips have a tendency to dry and be brown in the house, so if possible place it outside in the summer.
Pest and disease: Bugs, mealy bugs and mites usually are not a problem with the Ibervillea, however if they do appear, simply spray the houseplant down with a soapy water mix twice a day until they are gone.
Propagation: Propagates usually from seeds that must be sown in the spring and will germinate at about 20° C. The seedlings' caudex forms below ground and will grow much faster if left underground for some years.
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