Wild cucumber

Wild cucumber (Echinocystis lobata)

This native fast-growing vine is often confused with non-native invasive species because of its rapid growth and tendency to climb over other plants.  It is indeed related to the cultivated cucumber, and the spiny fruits make the connection obvious.  They are not good to eat, however. 

This plant grows especially well when there is plentiful moisture and this may be why it has exploded in growth this year. While it can smother low-growing plants, we aren't so concerned about it just starting up tall plants at this stage because it will be killed by frost fairly soon.  As an annual, it won't regrow from this years plants but will come back from seed.

Like cultivated cucumbers, this plant has male and female flowers on the same plant.  They are visited by a variety of pollinating insects.