Psiguria mistaken for Chinese Ginseng in Tobago by locals

Farmers and local bushmen were amazed to learn that what they believe was the Chinese Wild Ginseng plant was really Psiguria umbrosa, a native species (no common name provided).

Psiguria umbrosa is a climber (Cucurbitaceae) that exists most predominately in Trinidad within moist shaded places, climbing over bushes by rivers, roadside thickets, and disturbed forest areas. The fruit looks like miniature watermelons about 3 cm long.

Marty Condon, a Professor of Biology at Cornell College, Mount Vernon, USA stated that “Psiguria is very closely related to Gurania. Both have size-related sex changes– which makes me curious: in the photo the plant looks small, but it seems to produce fruit. That’s kind of weird– maybe that plant is growing from a bigger underground stem or tuber. It would be good if someone can trace the plant’s stem and find the tuber?”