Marah oregana

From Puget Prairie Plants
  • Scientific Name: Marah oregana
  • Family: Cucurbitaceae
  • Common Names: coastal manroot, wild cucumber
  • Synonyms/Misapplications: Echinocystis oregana, Marah oreganus, Sicyos oregana, Megarrhiza oregana, Micrampelis
  • Codon: MARORE

Photo by Rod Gilbert, also featured on Main Page


Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Subkingdom: Viridiplantae
Phylum: Tracheophyta
Subphylum: Spermatophytina
Class: Magnoliopsida
Subclass: Rosanae
Order: Cucurbitales
Family: Cucurbitaceae
Genus: Marah Kellogg
Species: Marah oregana (Torr. & A. Gray) Howell
  • Marah oreganus (Torr. & A. Gray) Howell
  • Echinocystis oregana (Torr. & A. Gray) Cogn.
  • Sicyos oreganus Torr. & A. Gray
  • Megarrhiza oregana (Torr. & A. Gray) S. Watson



Native perennial, trailing or climbing with tendrils.

Leaves are alternate, palmately lobed, rough and hairy, and cordate at the base.

Flowers are unisexual, corolla campanulate and white, monoecious.

The bladder-like fruits are sparsely to densely covered with flexible prickles that harden with age, dehiscent at apex when dry. [2]

Name comes from Hebrew marah, bitter, from the intensely bitter root.[3]

Bloom Period



Southwestern BC southwards, west of Cascade-Sierran acis, to northern California, eastwards in Columbia River Gorge, northeast Oregon, and rarely Hells Canyon. [3]


Bottomlands and open slopes at low elevations.[3]


Squaxin use of an infusion of smashed stalks as a soak for sore hands, plant considered poisonous.[5]


Seed sample from: 2011

Average Measurement: 16.8 x 17 x 8.5

Measurement Range: L: 15 – 18, W: 16 – 18, D: 8 – 9


Shape: Seeds very large, rounded with a pinched looking hilum.

Color: Dark brown, with a lighter brown hilum. Under high magnification seed appears speckled with black.

Surface: Seed covered in very fine velvety hairs. Under high magnification seed appears slightly glossy, but with naked eye, seed is matte.

Latitudinal Cross Section: elliptical MAOR lat.png

Longitudinal Cross Section: elliptical MAOR long.png

Photo Gallery


  1. Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Retrieved from
  2. Bowcutt, F., & Hamman, Sarah. (2016). Vascular plants of the South Sound prairies (First ed.). Olympia, Washington: The Evergreen State College Press.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Hitchcock, C. L., Cronquist, A., Giblin, D., & Legler, B. et al. (2018). Flora of the Pacific Northwest: an illustrated manual. Seattle: University of Washington Press.
  4. WTU Herbarium, Burke Museum, & University of Washington. Retrieved from
  5. Native American Ethnobotany Database. Retrieved from