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Useful Temperate Plants

Marah fabacea

(Naudin) Greene

Cucurbitaceae

+ Synonyms

Echinocystis fabacea Naudin

Echinocystis inermis Congdon

Micrampelis fabacea (Naudin) Greene

Common Name: Bigroot

No Image.

General Information

Marah fabacea is a herbaceous perennial climbing plant growing from a tuberous rootstock. The stems can be up to 7 metres long, they scramble over the ground, climbing into nearby vegetation for support, attaching themselves by means of tendrils
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a food and as a treatment for hair loss.

Known Hazards

The root is said to be poisonous to fish[
257
Title
Native American Ethnobotany
Publication
 
Author
Moerman. D.
Publisher
Timber Press. Oregon.
Year
1998
ISBN
0-88192-453-9
Description
Very comprehensive but terse guide to the native uses of plants. Excellent bibliography, fully referenced to each plant, giving a pathway to further information. Not for the casual reader.
]. We have no reports as to whether or not it is toxic to mammals[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
].

Botanical References

71
Title
A California Flora.
Publication
 
Author
Munz P.A. & Keck D.D.
Publisher
University of California Press; Los Angeles
Year
1959
ISBN
-
Description
An excellent flora but no pictures. Not for the casual reader.
,
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
,
270
Title
Flora of N. America
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://flora.huh.harvard.edu/fna/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An on-line version of the flora with an excellent description of the plant including a brief mention of plant uses.

Range

South-western N. America - California, Nevada.

Habitat

Streamsides, washes, coastal strand, rock outcrops, cliff bases, ledges, grasslands, chaparral, oak woodlands, riparian woodlands, open hillsides, roadsides, powerline cuts; at elevations from 20 - 1,400 metres[
270
Title
Flora of N. America
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://flora.huh.harvard.edu/fna/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An on-line version of the flora with an excellent description of the plant including a brief mention of plant uses.
].

Properties

Edibility Rating *  *
Other Uses Rating *  *
HabitPerennial Climber
Height5.00 m
PollinatorsInsects
Self-fertileYes
Cultivation StatusWild

Cultivation Details

Marah fabacea is native to the mediterranean-type climate of California, where it experiences long, hot summers and cool, moist winters. It is not a very cold-hardy plant, being able to tolerate short periods with temperatures falling to between -5 and -10°c[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
].
Requires a sunny position in a rich, well-drained soil and abundant moisture[
1
Title
RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956
Publication
 
Author
F. Chittendon.
Publisher
Oxford University Press
Year
1951
ISBN
-
Description
Comprehensive listing of species and how to grow them. Somewhat outdated, it has been replaced in 1992 by a new dictionary (see [200]).
].
A climbing plant, supporting itself by means of tendrils[
219
Title
Gardening on Walls
Publication
 
Author
Grey-Wilson. C. & Matthews. V.
Publisher
Collins
Year
1983
ISBN
0-00-219220-0
Description
A nice little book about plants for growing against walls and a small section on plants that can grow in walls.
].

Edible Uses

Used as a vegetable[
177
Title
Plants for Human Consumption.
Publication
 
Author
Kunkel. G.
Publisher
Koeltz Scientific Books
Year
1984
ISBN
3874292169
Description
An excellent book for the dedicated. A comprehensive listing of Latin names with a brief list of edible parts.
]. All parts of the plant have a bitter flavour[
270
Title
Flora of N. America
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://flora.huh.harvard.edu/fna/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An on-line version of the flora with an excellent description of the plant including a brief mention of plant uses.
]. We do not know if the fruit, root or the leaves are used[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
].

Medicinal

None known

Other Uses

The crushed seeds, mixed with oil, have been rubbed on the hair to prevent baldness[
257
Title
Native American Ethnobotany
Publication
 
Author
Moerman. D.
Publisher
Timber Press. Oregon.
Year
1998
ISBN
0-88192-453-9
Description
Very comprehensive but terse guide to the native uses of plants. Excellent bibliography, fully referenced to each plant, giving a pathway to further information. Not for the casual reader.
].

Propagation

Seed - sow early spring in pots of rich soil in a greenhouse. Germination usually takes place within 1 - 2 weeks at 20°c. Put 2 or 3 seeds in each pot and thin to the best plant. Grow on fast and plant out after the last expected frosts.
Cite as: Temperate Plants Database, Ken Fern. temperate.theferns.info. 2023-01-30. <temperate.theferns.info/plant/Marah+fabacea>

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