Ecballium elaterium, more commonly known as the squirting cucumber, is a plant in the cucumber/gourd family. It gets its name from the fact that when ripe it squirts a stream of liquid containing its seeds, this is able to be seen by the naked eye. The seeds can travel anything up to 20 ft from the plant. It is suspected to provide food for the caterpillars of the tortrix moth, phtheochroa rugosana.
This plant, especially its fruit, is poisonous, and in the ancient world it was considered to be an abortifacient (cause of miscarriage). In Turkey the fresh fruit of this plant is directly applied into the nostrils for the treatment of sinusitis. It is also considered an analgesic, anti-rheumatic, anti-cancer, and purgative drug.
A species of ladybird lives entirely on this plant, henosipalachna elaterii or gourd ladybird, She is an orange brown colour with 12 black spots. She feeds and rests on the plant and also mates and hatches her eggs on it. The hatched larvae also feed on the plant and later form their pupa. In other words, the ladybird is totally dependent on the plant throughout her whole life cycle.
Feeling just a teensy weensy bit brighter this morning, but will only be voting for another couple of days yet, don't want to run before I can walk Let's hope the start of a new week will bring me renewed vigour and strength