OK, I'm hoping that y'all can solve a mystery for me.
Awhile ago I posted a picture of what appeared to be a cucumber plant with very small leaves that I found growing wild in my backyard. The leaves are at most 2" wide, but many are smaller. It has all the characteristics of a cucumber plant - rough, sandpapery leaves, curlique tentrils that grab, tiny hairs on the stem, smells a bit like cucumbers when the leaf is crushed.
The other day I went into the part of the backyard where these wild creatures are growing, and they had gotten tiny fruits! They are just larger than gumballs, not even 1" long, and perhaps 1/2" wide. They start out whitish, with pale green stripes (like a cucumber), darkening to a dark green over most of the fruit. They are spineless and smooth. They have that characteristic cucumber smell when broken open, with the light white-green flesh around the sides and tiny cucumber seeds inside (although bigger in proportion to the fruits than are the seeds of normal-sized cucumbers) and the seeds have that cucumber jelly stuff around each one individually. In the immature fruit the seeds are flat (as in a cucumber ready to eat) but in the mature fruit the seeds are plumped out a bit and a darker yellow, with more jelly and less flesh. What flesh remains is not firm and the fruit ruptures easily.
These are all the same details you'd see in any cucumber, except they are entirely spineless and very, very tiny.
I and two of my friends at work did research on the Internet to try to find out what they are, but we had no luck. Combined I think we put in about 6 hours of research! They are not "wild cucumbers" of North America, this I know - those are very spiny, much larger, and not considered edible. These don't fit anything I could find on wild cucumbers at all.
A friend (who hasn't seen them) describes something similar that a friend of hers used to find growing on fence rows and eat in the summer. She isn't sure if those had spines or not.
I know you will think I'm crazy, but I ate some. The first day I ate about 25 of them. Aside from the burps that some cucumbers will give you, I was absolutely fine. The next day I took some in my salad to work (which is why my co-workers helped me do more research.)
They are cute little things, and I like the taste of them when they are in the light green stage. Very cucumbery. Best of all, they don't need to be cut up to throw in salad. They are perfect little bite-sized cucumbers.
Oh, and the vines get teeny-tiny golden yellow blossoms on them... just like cucumbers.
Any idea what these are called?