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Project Name Data (Last Modified On 7/31/2013)
 

Flora Data (Last Modified On 7/31/2013)
Family CUCURBITACEAE
Contributor RICHARD P. WUNDERLIN
Description Monoecious or dioecious, climbing or prostrate, annual or perennial vines or lianas, rarely shrubs or small trees; stems usually 5- to 20-sulcate or -angled. Leaves alternate, usually petiolate, simple and entire to pinnately or palmately lobed or palmately compound; tendrils lateral, solitary, simple or up to 5- branched, often spirally twisted, rarely absent; estipulate. Flowers in axillary, determinate, cymose, racemose, paniculate, or capitulate inflorescences or solitary, unisexual or rarely bisexual, actinomorphic; hypanthium (calyx tube) adnate to the ovary; calyx limb usually (4-)5(-7)-lobate, the lobes imbricate; corolla gamopetalous or polypetalous, inserted on the calyx limb, the petals or the corolla lobes (4-)5(-7), campanulate, rotate, or salverform, valvate. Staminate flowers with 5, free, bilocular stamens alternating with the petals (in the primitive condition) or highly modified through cohesion and reduction (in the advanced condition), the anthers straight to conduplicate, extrorse; pistillodium present or absent; nectaries present or absent. Pistillate flowers with solitary pistil, the ovary inferior or nearly so (rarely superior), the carpels primitively 5, usually 3, the locules usually 1 with parietal placentation or sometimes 3 with axile placenta- tion, the ovules numerous to solitary, horizontal, pendulous or ascending, ana- tropous, often surrounded by pulp, the styles 1 or 3, terminal, united or rarely free, with as many branches or stigma lobes as carpels, each branch sometimes bilobate or bifurcate. Fruit a berry with a soft or hard pericarp (pepo) or dry, indehiscent or sometimes valvate or porate; seeds often compressed, some- times winged, the testa multilayered, the cotyledons large, the embryo straight, the endosperm absent.
Habit vines or lianas, rarely shrubs or small trees
Note The Cucurbitaceae is a family of 90-126 genera and 140-1,280 species. The family is widely distributed in both the Old and New World tropics and subtropics, but extends into the temperate regions of both the northern and southern hemispheres. In Panama approximately 50 species in 23 genera are found. Some of these have been introduced from the Old World either recently or prehistorically. Economically, the Cucurbitaceae is an important family with several genera commonly cultivated for food: Cucurbita (pumpkins and squashes), Cucumis (cucumbers and melons), and Citrullus (watermelons). Several other genera are also locally used as food: e.g. Sechium (cayote), Sicana (calabaza), Momordica (balsam apple), and Luffa (vegetable sponge). Others are growl as ornamentals: e.g. Cucurbita (gourds), Coccinea (ivy gourd), and Tricho- santhes (snake gourd). Lagenaria siceraria (bottle gourd) has long been used for containers, ladles, musical instruments, food, etc. The Cucurbitaceae, although an easily recognized family, is difficult taxo- nomically. It is often difficult or impossible to identify plants to species or sometimes even to genus without flowering (both staminate and pistillate) and fruiting material. Being large vines often with bulky fruits, good herbarium materials are wanting for many species.
Reference Cogniaux, A. 1881. Cucurbitaceae in A. De Candolle & C. De Candolle, Mono- graphiae Phanerogamarum. Paris 3: 325-1008. Hutchinson, J. 1967. Cucurbitaceae in Genera of Flowering Plants. London 2: 367-419. Jeffrey, C. 1962. Notes on Cucurbitaceae, including a proposed new classifi- cation of the family. Kew Bull. 15: 337-371. 1967. On the classification of the Cucurbitaceae. Kew Bull. 20: 417- 426. Muller, E. G. 0. & F. Pax. 1886. Cucurbitaceae in A. Engler & K. Prantl, Die Natirlichen Pflanzenfamilien. Leipzig 4(5): 1-39. Standley, P. C. 1928. Cucurbitaceae in Flora of the Panama Canal Zone. Contr. U.S. Natl. Herb. 27: 365-370.
Key Two keys, one based primarily on staminate material and the second based mainly on pistillate or fruiting material, are provided. KEY 1 a. Stamen filaments free or only slightly connate toward base. b. Stamens 5 ...... 8. Fevillea bb. Stamens other than 5. c. Stamen solitary, the anther forming a capitate horizontal ring ...... 6. Cyclanthera cc. Stamens 2 or 3, not disposed as above. d. Anthers straight or only slightly curved at one or both ends. e. Stamens 3. f. Staminate flowers minute, in diffuse panicles ...... 22. Sicydium ff. Staminate flowers small to moderate in size, solitary, fasciculate, or racemose. g. Petals yellow or greenish yellow. h. Leaves to 10 cm in diameter; petals erect ......13. Melothria hh. Leaves over 10 cm in diameter; petals spreading or reflexed ...... 16. Posadaea gg. Petals white. i. Calyx cylindrical; tendrils 4-branched ...... 15. Polyclathera ii. Calyx cup shaped; tendrils simple or 2-branched ...... 20. Selysia ee. Stamens 2. j. Calyx red, the lobes much longer than those of corolla ...... 10. Gurania jj. Calyx green, the lobes much shorter than those of corolla ...... 17. Psiguria dd. Anthers conduplicate or flexuous. k. Petals free to the base. 1. Petals yellow; leaf bases without petiolar glands ...... 12. Luffa 11. Petals white; leaf bases with petiolar glands ...... 11. Lagenaria kk. Petals connate at least in the lower part. m. Leaves pinnatifid or bipinnatifid ...... 3. Citrullus mm. Leaves entire, lobed, or 3-foliate. n. Anthers connate. o. Flowers white or greenish. p. Petals connate over half their length; fruit fleshy, peponiform ...... 2. Cionosicys pp. Petals free nearly to the base; fruit a fibrous berry ...... 1. Cayaponia oo. Flowers yellow or orange. q. Leaves deeply divided; flowers to 1 cm long; weedy, wild plants ...... 14. Momordica qq. Leaves entire or shallowly lobed; flowers well over 1 cm long; cultivated plants, rarely escaped ...... 5. Cucurbita nn. Anthers free. r. Tendrils simple; calyx lobes erect or spreading ...... 4. Cucumis rr. Tendrils 3- to 5-branched; calyx lobes reflexed ...... 21. Sicana aa. Stamen filaments connate. s. Calyx tube elongate cylindric ......18. Rytidostylis ss. Calyx tube urceolate, campanulate, or rotate. t. Anthers free, spreading ...... 19. Sechium tt. Anthers connate. u. Stamens 3 ...... 23. Sicyos uu. Stamens 5. v. Nectaries forming a depressed spherical cushion at the base of the staminal column or pouchlike and sunk in hypanthium base ...... 9. Frantzia vv. Nectaries not evident ...... 7. Elateriopsis KEY 2 a. Leaves pinnatifid or bipinnatifid ...... 3. Citrullus aa. Leaves entire or palmately lobed or divided. b. Leaves with sessile glands near the base of the blade. c. Seeds triangular, 3-cornuate at the base ...... 20. Selysia cc. Seeds ovate or elliptical. d. Petals connate over half their length; fruit fleshy, peponiform ...... 2. Cionosicys dd. Petals free nearly to base; fruit a fibrous berry ...... 1. Cayaponia bb. Leaves eglandular. e. Fruits with a solitary seed. f. Pistillate flowers paniculate; fruits globose, less than 1 cm in diameter; spherical ...... 22. Sicydium ff. Pistillate flowers solitary; fruits ovoid, obovoid, or fusiform, over 1 cm long; seed lenticular. g. Nectaries forming a depressed spherical cushion at the base of the style or pouchlike and sunk in hypanthium base ...... 9. Frantzia gg. Nectaries not evident ...... 19. Sechiun ee. Fruits 2- to many-seeded. h. Styles distinct; seeds 4-5 cm long ...... 8. Fevillea hh. Styles united; seeds 2 cm long or less. i. Calyx orange red, lobes longer than corolla ...... 10. Gurania ii. Calyx green or greenish, lobes shorter than corolla. j. Fruits echinate, tuberculate, or setose. k. Fruits orange; seeds surrounded by a red aril ...... 14. Mormordica kk. Fruits greenish; seeds without a red aril. 1. Fruits or pistillate flowers in clusters ...... 23. Sicyos 11. Fruits or pistillate flowers solitary. m. Calyx tube elongate cylindric ...... 18. Rytidostylis mm. Calyx tube rotate or campanulate. n. Corolla yellow; tendrils simple; fruits indehiscent ...... 4. Cuctrmis nn. Corolla white; tendrils branched; fruits explosively or elastically dehiscent ...... 6. Cyclanthera jj. Fruits smooth or roughened, but not echinate (sometimes with a few seta near base). o. Corolla red; calyx tube elongate cylindrical ...... 17. Psiguria oo. Corolla other than red; calyx tube rotate to campanulate. p. Corolla yellow or greenish yellow. q. Calyx lobes reflexed at anthesis. r. Corolla 2.0-3.5 cm long; fruits fleshy, fusiform, dark red or purple ...... 21. Sicana rr. Corolla 8-9 mm long; fruits with woody pericarp, spherical, greenish yellow ...... 16. Posadaea qq. Calyx lobes erect or spreading. s. Fruit operculate, interior filled with coarse fibrous mass ...... 12. Luffa ss. Fruit indehiscent, interior pulpy. t. Corolla less than 1 cm long; fruits less than 6 cm long; wild plants ...... 13. M elothria tt. Corolla over 1 cm long; fruits over 6 cm long; cultivated plants, rarely escaped ...... 5. Cuictirbita pp. Corolla white or greenish white. u. Petioles biglandular at the apex ...... 11. Lagenaria uu. Petioles eglandular. v. Fruits obliquely ovoid; seeds few, embedded in pulp. w. Leaves entire or only lobed ...... 7. E lateriopsis ww. Leaves palmately dissected ...... 6. C yclanthera vv. Fruits ellipsoid or oblong; seeds numeous, in tiers of horizontal ligneous-walled cavities ...... 15. Polyclathra
 
 
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