Annual herbaceous vine Stem: grooved to angled, softly hairy to hairless. Leaves: alternate, stalked, 7.5 - 12.7 cm across, rounded to egg-shaped or nearly kidney-shaped with a rounded tip, often five-angled, sometimes shallowly three- to seven-lobed, wavy-toothed, hairy to somewhat rough. Flowers: either male or female, borne on the same plant (monoecious), often having some bisexual fowers, 1.2 - 2.5 cm across, with a five-parted corolla that is flat and circular in outline. The male flowers are usually borne in clusters, while the female flowers are usually borne solitary. Fruit: a musky-scented, spherical to oblong berry with a rind (pepo), often furrowed with yellow, white or green flesh and many seeds. The rind may be green, yellow, tan, beige or white and the surface may be smooth, rough, warty, scaly, or netted. Seeds white, about 1.3 cm long, narrow. Tendrils: unbranched.
Similar species: Cucurbita species differ by having bell-shaped flowers and branched tendrils. Citrullus lantanus differs by having branched tendrils and deeply pinnate-lobed leaves.
Flowering: August to October
Habitat and ecology: Introduced from Africa, this species occasionally escapes form cultivation growing in waste areas, along railroads, and near picnic areas.
Occurence in the Chicago region: non-native
Etymology: Cucumis comes from the Greek word kykyon, meaning cucumber. Melo means "apple-shaped melon."