Echinocystis fabacea Naudin
Echinocystis inermis Congdon
Micrampelis fabacea (Naudin) Greene
Common Name: Bigroot
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.
The root is said to be poisonous to fish[
]. We have no reports as to whether or not it is toxic to mammals[
South-western N. America - California, Nevada.
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[
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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[
Requires a sunny position in a rich, well-drained soil and abundant moisture[
A climbing plant, supporting itself by means of tendrils[
Used as a vegetable[
]. All parts of the plant have a bitter flavour[
]. We do not know if the fruit, root or the leaves are used[
The crushed seeds, mixed with oil, have been rubbed on the hair to prevent baldness[
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.