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Help! What Is This Red Fruit Vine From Fort Worth?

Ask the Expert: What is this vine?

I live in the Fort Worth TX area in the country. For the past 3 summers this vine has been growing along the fence near my entrance gate. It has been so dry here this year the leaves are yellow and turning brown instead of green as in previous years. But you can easily see the shape in these pics. And the fruit of course. It withers and dies before August. Each “fruit” contains many I-2mm seeds. Any idea what this is? –Ginny

Lindheimer's globeberry, Balsam gourd, Globe berry, Snake apple

Flower Shop Network Plant Expert Reply:

This interesting little vine is from the Cucurbitaceae family (Cucumber). Botanically it is Ibervillea lindheimeri which is commonly known as Lindheimer’s globeberry, Balsam gourd, Globe berry, Snake apple. As you know, this vine can grow any where from 6 to 10ft in height. It produces ½” wide, creamy-yellow tubular flowers with a 5 spreading lobes between April and September. The leaves of this plant also have a appearance of 5 lobes and it develops 1″ diameter fruit. The immature green-striped fruit will ripen into a bright red fruit after it sheds it’s spiny-looking green covering.

This broad leaved herbaceous plant is a native plant in New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas. Although it requires a moderate amount of sun and water, it is a drought tolerant plant. Quail have been known to eat the seeds, while white-tail deer will occasionally eat on the leaves. For humans the plant is not poisonous but also not edible.

The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center has some great information about the person the Ibervillea lindheimeri was named after.

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