Carnegiea gigantea, Giant Saguaro

Southwest Desert Flora

Home to the plants of the Sonoran, Chihuahuan and Mojave Deserts

Cirsium ochrocentrum, Yellowspine Thistle

Echinopepon wrightii, Wild Balsam Apple

Echinopepon wrightii, Wild Balsam Apple, Southwest Desert Flora Echinopepon wrightii, Wild Balsam Apple, Southwest Desert Flora Echinopepon wrightii, Wild Balsam Apple, Southwest Desert Flora

Scientific Name: Echinopepon wrightii
Common Name: Wild Balsam Apple
Also Called: Wild Balsam Apple, Wild Balsam-apple
Family: Cucurbitaceae, Cucumber or Gourd Family
Synonyms: (Elaterium wrightii)
Status: Native
Duration: Annual
Size: Up to 5 or 6 feet; needs woody trees or shrubs to gain height.
Growth Form: Forb/herb; climbing vine with tendrils, slender stems.
Leaves: Green; alternate, palmately divided, shallowly lobed.
Flower Color: White or cream; flowers small, male and female flowers fruit a capsule, ovoid and spiny.
Flowering Season: July to October.
Elevation: 3,000 to 4,000 feet.

Habitat Preferences: Climbing along washes and streams through existing woody vegetation in mid-elevations.

Recorded Range: Rare in the United where it is found in southern Arizona, southwest New Mexico and possibly Texas. It is also found in Baja California and northern Mexico.

North America & US County Distribution Map for Echinopepon wrighti.

U.S. Weed Information: No information available.
Invasive/Noxious Weed Information: No information available.

Wetland Indicator: In North America Echinopepon wrightii is included on the USDA 2012 National Wetland Plant List as a: Facultative (FAC) species.
FAC, Facultative, occur in wetlands and non-wetlands

Threatened/Endangered Information: No information available.

Genus Information: Genus is rare in the southwest United States where there are 2 species in Echinopepon wrightii (see comments below). 1 species native to Arizona.

Comments: There are only 2 native species of Echinopepon in North America. However, the second species, Coulter's Balsam Apple, Echinopepon coulteri, was documented in New Mexico in 1955.

Date Profile Completed: 4/11/2015, rev. 07/22/2015, updated format 10/12/2017
U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service on-line database – ITIS search
Arizona Flora, Kearney, Thomas H., Peebles, Robert H., 1960, University of California Press, Berkley and Los Angeles, California.
SEINet for synonyms, scientific names and recorded geographic locations,