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Family Curcubitaceae
Melothria pendula Linn.

Scientific names Common names
Apodanthera gracilis Benth. Pipinong-gubat (Tag.)
Bryonia convolvulifolia Schltdl. Creeping cucumber (Engl.)
Bryonia filiformis Roxb. Drooping melonette (Engl.)
Bryonia guadalupensis Spreng. Guadeloupe cucumber (Engl.)
Bryonia melothria Crantz Little cucumber (Engl.)
Cucumis glaber Walter Meloncito (Engl.)
Diclidostigma melothrioides Kunze Mouse watermelon (Engl.)
Landersia pervaga Macfad. Small wild cucumber (Engl.)
Melothria chlorocarpa Engelm. ex S.Watson Speckled gourd (Engl.)
Melothria crassifolia Small Wild cucumber (Engl.)
Melothria fluminensis Gardner Wild pipino (Engl.)
Melothria guadalupensis (Spreng.) Cogn.  
Melothria microcarpa Griseb.  
Melothria monoica Schrad. ex Steud.  
Melothria nashii Small  
Melothria nigra Raf.  
Melothria obtusiloba Spruce ex Cogn.  
Melothria pendula Linn.  
Melothria pervaga (Macfad.) Griseb.  
Melothria punctata Raf.  
Melothria repanda Raf.  
Melothria pendula L. is an accepted name. KEW: Plants of the World Online

Other vernacular names
BRAZIL: Cereja de purga, Pepininho-do-mato, Pepiniculo.
FRENCH: Melonettes, Konkonm pwazon.
MEXICO: Sandiita, Pepinito, Tomatito, Esponjuela.
SPANISH: Guajillo, Meloncito, Pepinillo silvestre, Pepinito, Chilacayotito, Tomatito, Sandia de raton.
SURINAM: Sneki komkomro, Sneki-komkoro.

Gen info
- Melothria is a genus of flowering plants in the family Cucurbitaceae, native to the Americas from the United States to Argentina, with introductions in Africa and elsewhere. A number of Old World species formerly in Melothria have been reassigned to Cucumis. (15)
- Etymology: The genus name melothria derives from ancient Greek Melothron
, meaning "apple" or "little apple", with uncertainty as to what plant it initially referred to. (11) The specific epithet 'pendula' means "hanging".

Pipinong-gubat is a perennial prostrate or climbing vine with thin and smooth stems and coiled tendrils, growing to a length of six feet or more. Leaves are alternate, toothed, shallowly or deeply five-lobed, reaching a length of 5 to 7 centimeters. Flowers are tiny, yellow, with five petals, about 0.8 centimeter wide. Fruit is a tiny, green to black, smooth, and watermelon-like berry, oblong-elliptic, 10 to 19 millimeters long, about 12 millimeters in diameter, with white spots when young, dangling at the end of the pedicel.

- Introduced to the Philippines.
- Abundant in the Tagalog areas.

- Common vine in forest areas.

- Phytochemical screening of ethanolic leaf extracts have yielded alkaloids, anthraquinones, quinones, saponins, steroids, tannins, terpenoids, and xanthoproteins, with absence of carotenoids, coumarins, and flavonoids.

- Leaves smell like cucumber; fruit tastes like cucumber.
- Toxicity: Toxicity is only related to consumption of ripe, black berries which is produces a drastic purgative effect.  Unripe and green berries can be eaten raw. Roots, leaves, vines, and flowers have not been reported as toxic to humans. Dogs are known to eat the leaves without apparent side effects.
- Studies have suggest hypoglycemic, antiviral properties.

Parts used
Leaves, tendrils, fruit.


- Young fruits are edible; eaten fresh or pickled, boiled, steam or stir-fried.
- Best eaten when fruits are  unripe, green, crispy and juicy; also used as salad ingredient.  Small, it has the taste of cucumber; full-sized green, it tastes like watermelon or melon.
- Avoid the dark green or black fruits as they may cause rapid and drastic diarrhea.
- In Thailand and Mexico, leaves, young shoots, tops of stems reportedly eaten, raw or cooked.

- In Surinam, infusion of tendrils taken as a drink to remedy acidity or sour stomach in children. Fruit is considered a very drastic purgative. (Purgative used probably associated with black ripened fruits.) (2)
- In Brazil, fruit used as a purgative.

- In Mexico, infusion of plant used for diabetes. (8) Used as tonic for anemia. Boiled fruits used for heart disease. Crushed fresh plant used for snake bites and applied to rashes and hemorrhoids. (7)
- In Yucatan, infusion of entire plant used as remedy for gastritis, calculus, and sores. Crushed fresh plant used for snake bites. Fresh crushed stems applied topically to skin rash, hemorrhoids, and as anti-inflammatory. (13)

Hypoglycemic Effect / Fruit and Leaves:
Study investigated the hypoglycemic effect of homogenized fruit and ethanolic leaf extract in 75% and 100% concentration of M. pendula in alloxan-induced diabetic mice. Two weeks administration of fruit and leaf extract to diabetic mice showed significant hypoglycemic effect (p<0.0001). (9)
Anti-Viral against Herpes Simplex 1: Herpes simplex 1 is one of the most prevalent pathogens worldwide. Study using qPCR method assessed the antiherpetic activity of 72 plants extracts and identified 18 methanolic extracts, which included  Melothria pendula, with anti-viral activity of ≥ 75%. The effective antiviral concentrations (EC50) were between 203 and 6.31 µg/mL, with selectivity indexes (SI) between 55.91 and 2.57. (12)
Silver Nanoparticles / Antibacterial / Leaves: Study reports on the biosynthesis of silver nanoparticles using aqueous leaf extract of M. pendula. Secondary metabolites in the extract were alkaloids, saponins, and terpenoids. The AgNPs was found effective against Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli. There was not significant difference between chloramphenical and the NPs.  (14)

- Wild-crafted.
- Seeds in the cybermarket.

© Godofredo U. Stuart Jr., M.D. / StuartXchange

Updated January 2023 / July 2018 / January 2016
November 2014

Photos © Godofredo Stuart / StuartXchange

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
Creeping Cucumber: Melothria Pendula / Green Deane / Eat The Weeds
Melothria pendula / Medicinal Plants of the Guianas (Guyana, Surinam, French Guiana)
/ Wilderness Explorers
Amazonian Brazilian medicinal plants described by C.F.P. von Martius in the 19th century / Ulrike B. Breitbach, Michael Niehues, Norberto P. Lopes, Jair E.Q. Fariab, Maria G.L. Brandão /
Journal of Ethnopharmacology, Volume 147, Issue 1, 2 May 2013, Pp 180–189 / doi:10.1016/j.jep.2013.02.030
Sorting Melothria names / /Maintained by: Michel H. Porcher / MULTILINGUAL MULTISCRIPT PLANT NAME DATABASE / Copyright © 1995 - 2020 / A Work in Progress. School of Agriculture and Food Systems. Faculty of Land & Food Resources. The University of Melbourne. Australia
Melothria pendula / KEW: Plants of the World Online Plant List
Phytochemical Screening and Determination of Antacid Property of Ethanolic Extract of Melothria pendula L. (pipinong gubat) on Sprague-Dawley rats / Jessica Chua
Melothria pendula-Melonette / Adam Arseniuk / Herbs from Distant Lands
Mexican plants with hypoglycaemic effect used in the treatment of diabetes / Adolfo Andrade-Cetto, Michael Heinrich / Journal of Ethnopharmacology 99 (2005) 325–348
/ Ma. Regina V. Acupanda / Thesis: May 2016 / De La Salle University-Dasmariñas: Biological Sciences Department

Phytochemical Analysis of Three Common Medicinal Plants (Gliricidia sepium, Melothria pendula, and Pithecellobium dulce) in the Philippines / Renjith Raju, Toms Prakash, Ramachandran Rahul, Jinky Marie T chua, Julius T Capili et al / Scholars Academic Journal of Biosciences, 2021; 9(3): pp 84-88 / pISSN: 2347-9515 / eISSN: 2321-6883 / DOI: 10.36347/sajb.2021.v09i03.004
Creeping cucumber: Melothria pendula / / EatTheWeeds
Screening of medicinal plants from El Salvador for anti-viral activity against Herpes simplex 1 / Jose Franco-Espinola, Marvin J Nunez, Y Mabel Sanabria-Ramirez et al / Natural Product Research, 2022 /
DOI: 10.1080/14786419.2022.2131783
Ethnobotany of the Wild Mexican Cucurbitaceae / Rafael Lira. Javoer Caballero / Economic Botany, 2002; 56(4): pp 380-398 / The New York Botanical Garden Press, Bronx, NY 10458-5126
Physicochemical Properties and Antibacterial Activity of Biosynthesized Silver Nanoparticles from Melothria pendula Linn. (Pipinong-Gubat) Leaf Extract / Nathaniel A Dianito, Flyndon Mark S Dagalea, Manuela Cecille G Vicencio, Karina Milagros C Lim / Asian Journal of Chemical Sciences, 12(1): pp 1-11 / DOI: 10.9734/ajocs/2022/v12i119134 / ISSN: 2456-7795
Melothria / Wikipedia

DOI: It is not uncommon for links on studies/sources to change. Copying and pasting the information on the search window or using the DOI (if available) will often redirect to the new link page. (Citing and Using a (DOI) Digital Object Identifier)

                                                            List of Understudied Philippine Medicinal Plants

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