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Gymnostemma pentaphyllum

Archive entry 08.11.15

22nd March 2011

Every now and then I run into a plant that I have to grow simply because of what it is. This is one of a very small number of hardy perennial Cucurbits, growing vigorously from a tangled underground mess of stems. It produces insignificant flowers and little greenish berries (at least on female plants) rather than gigantic orange pumpkins, but it is still nice to have a member of the family in the garden.
It comes from China and Korea where it is used as a herbal tea, and this is the gimmick that makes it commercially viable. I love it, but even I admit that it isn't all that decorative even though it is vigorous. It has been reported as non-toxic but I'm not planning to try it (I think it has a dubious look about it).

19th September 2013

It has been reluctant to climb, but it trails with enthiusiasm. It appreciates hot weather through the growing season but has been hardy through some severe winters.

9th September 2015

I had underestimated its enthusiasm given a warm place to grow.

3rd November 2015

Tiny white flowers at the end of the year. They were interesting but not worth the space it occupies. It has also started to pop up all over the place as the trailing stems root where they touch the ground. Like Cymbalaria muralis the shoot tips push into dark places, swell up and form little fat tubers that root. Vigorous, oh so vigorous.

25th September 2021