Friday, May 21, 2010

Wild Cucumber

Photos of wild Cucumber Marah Oreganus from Wikipedia
When I was a little kid I was always warned not to eat the Wild Cucumber because it was poison. Now Ekovox tells me that the Chinese guard lizards taste like Wild cucumber. Either he has never eaten a wild cucumber, or never eaten a Chinese guard lizard. But, Ekovox is known as "Eko The Truth teller" so it must be true. He would never try to trick us.

Just like all plants on the north coast the Indian people had a use for wild cucumber. It has some of the same saponins that bear onion has. The Indian people would crush it and throw it in a creek to stupefy fish. Then they would catch them at the riffle as they washed downstream.

Other uses from Wikipedia: "Marah oreganus was used by Native Americans for various problems. The Chinook made a poultice from the gourd. The Squaxin mashed the upper stalk in water to dip aching hands. The Chehalis burned the root and mixed the resulting powder with bear grease to apply to scrofula sores. The Coast Salish made a decoction to treat venereal disease, kidney trouble and scrofula sores."

The seeds of Marah fabaceus, another wild cucumber that will cross with oreganus, are also rumored to be hallucinogenic. I have some of this same plant. It grows in my front yard, so if you don’t mind risking death to try some I’ll save you some seeds this summer.

When my dog Twizzel was a puppy so got so sick that we thought that she had been poisoned. In her barf we found a seed that we concluded was from the wild cucumber. We took her to the vet but she came out of it on her own. We still don’t know if she ate some. But she didn’t appear to be enjoying herself, so if she was high on wild cucumber she was on a bad trip.

17 comments:

Ekovox said...

Dang it, Ernie...If I wanted you to expouse on the hallecunigenic properties of the wild cucumber, I would have never mentioned the taste is similar to alligator lizard meat. Yes, in the Klamath-Trinity region, we used to enjoy the succulent bitter and acrid flavor of the wild cucumber not for the taste but for the extreme trippy high. Man, that shit makes you fly!!! The last time I was on it, I saw God and looked just like Jack Nicholsen riding around on a rainbow chopper with fairies and bluebirds flitting around his head. Man, I was higher than a hundred hippies.....

Now, you go and ruin it all by letting the newcomers in on our local legal natural high. I'm dissapointed in you, Ernie. I thought we vowed never to tell the newcomers all of our local natural hallucinigans. Geez, the next thing you know, there will be an entire economy based around wild cucumber.

Please, please don't tell them about the huckleberry high.

kymk said...

I've been trying to get a photo of wild cucumber that does it justice...Failure so far.

Some vines slide up tree trunks around here. They look beautiful.

Ernie Branscomb said...

Kym
Up intil this year I had a beautiful cucumber vine growing right beside my driveway. Last year I pruned the pepperwood tree and the grasses have grown up through the vine and it is not nearly as pretty. It might have to go, along with the grasses. Flowers would look nice there, but as you know, there is NOTHING deer proof.

Ernie Branscomb said...

Eko
I did a post awhile back on LSD. A couple of people sang the praises of a mind-expanding, enlightning, understanding of the world type trip that it sounded so good that I was thinking of trying it myself.

Then I read about the guy in Requa that cut his friends heart out and cut his face off while on mushrooms. Then right after that I read about the guy in Arcata that took LSD saw god and God told him that he had monsters in his gonads and he casterated himself. I decided that I would try to stay without drugs.

But, the wild cucumbers sound like a real trip. Dying could be fun, who knows, and those that do won't talk.

Anonymous said...

Well Ernie, I can take care of your deer problem if you can find a way to take care of my gophers. Kinda like a barter system.

Oregon

suzy blah blah said...

aka manroot was used by Native Americans for various problems. The Chinook made a poultice from the gourd. The Squaxin mashed the upper stalk in water to dip aching hands. The Chehalis burned the root and mixed the resulting powder with bear grease to apply to scrofula sores. The Coast Salish made a decoction to treat venereal disease, kidney trouble and scrofula sores.

Anonymous said...

So Suzy, have you ever heard of a white man using this plant to get rid of gophers?


Oregon

suzy blah blah said...

-Siouxie says, sit quiet in garden under moon with bow and arrow.

Anonymous said...

I've done that in the past when I had a smaller yard Siouxie, but with a 22. It's effective when there are only 2 or 3 gophers. However I am not that patient anymore.

Oregon

Ben said...

The wild cucumber has a large root and the Indians called it "Manroot".

suzy blah blah said...

-the root's forked bottom suggests that it looks "two legged" and thus resembles a human being. The Native Americans relate a legend in which the first man and woman were formed when two of these roots were breathed upon by Great Spirit.

Anonymous said...

I think I have found my solution for the gophers so I won't be bothering this blog with my incessant questions about it.
I watched a video of someone trapping them and he caught 40 of the little darlings in one night. This was in one large yard (play ground). That's two 5 gallon bucket fulls.
Dang!! It will be sweet dreams tonight.

Oregon

olmanriver said...

The Yuki callMegarrhiza marah S. Wats, Zhal-zhoi'-e. It is a long trailing, or climbing vine common along streams.
Some Indian informants stated that it was used to get rid of old people.
Both root and seed are extremely bitter and acrid.
"In practice the fresh root is sometimes rubbed over the rheumatic joints or on the boils and swelling, but it is considered better to roast it in ashes, mash it up well with the hands, and then apply the pasty mass to the skin til it draws blisters. It is claimed that this method is comparatively painless and that it is very effective." VK Chesnut in Plants used by the Indians of Mendocino County California.
One tribe used the oil in the charred seeds for a fixative for colors in their pictographs.

olmanriver said...

The "Lassik", Wailaki, "Sinkyone", and Bear River tribes used manroot to stun fish. The Bear River Indians used it pounded and mixed with soaproot and wild onion in the river pools and it would turn the water purple.
In one account a few bushels of these fish "poisons" would take out the fish for a few miles of river, for easy harvesting, and the meat was not effected for using.

Remember back when the squawfish were taking over, biologists were walking the southfork Eel and wringing hands over what to do.
Dynamiting pools was considered.
Shame they didn't have an ethno-botanist on staff. I can think of a few squawfish infested pools to experiment on.

Anonymous said...

has anybody tryed catching the fish yet? Im going to give it a try any helpful hints?

Prayerwood said...

My maternal grandfather said his grandfather used the root to make sasparilla. There is a Cornell University study which says the saponins in wild cucumber root taste like root beer; but can make us sneeze, snot and pee. Anybody got a recipe for wild cucumber sasparilla; anybody know how safe it is to drink?

Anonymous said...

They look ouchy! oh no!