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 Gourd Family
Hodgsonia - male plant
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[[{{{domain}}}]] > [[{{{superregnum}}}]] > Plantae > [[{{{subregnum}}}]] > [[{{{superdivisio}}}]] > [[{{{superphylum}}}]] > Magnoliophyta > [[{{{phylum}}}]] > [[{{{subdivisio}}}]] > [[{{{subphylum}}}]] > [[{{{infraphylum}}}]] > [[{{{microphylum}}}]] > [[{{{nanophylum}}}]] > [[{{{superclassis}}}]] > Magnoliopsida > [[{{{subclassis}}}]] > [[{{{infraclassis}}}]] > [[{{{superordo}}}]] > Cucurbitales > [[{{{subordo}}}]] > [[{{{infraordo}}}]] > [[{{{superfamilia}}}]] > Cucurbitaceae > [[{{{subfamilia}}}]] > [[{{{supertribus}}}]] > [[{{{tribus}}}]] > [[{{{subtribus}}}]] > [[{{{genus}}}]] {{{subgenus}}} {{{sectio}}} {{{series}}} {{{species}}} {{{subspecies}}} var. {{{cultivar}}}

Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture

Cucurbitaceae (from the genus Cucurbita, the classical name for the gourd). Gourd Family. Herbs, rarely shrubs, climbing, usually with branched tendrils: leaves alternate, more or less rounded; veins palmate: flowers usually unisexual, perigynous, regular; stamens 5, rarely separate, usually connate in 2 pairs and 1 free stamen (thus apparently, stamens 3), or monadelphous, inserted at the summit of the ovary; anthers 2-celled, the cells often queerly curved and contorted; carpels usually 3, rarely more or fewer; ovary inferior, mostly 3-celled, many-ovuled: fruit a dry berry with thick rind and spongy center (Pepo), or juicy with hard rind, very exceptionally dehiscent.

There are 87 genera and about 650 species, widely distributed over the earth but most abundant in the tropics; they are wanting in the cold regions. Several are wild in the eastern United States. The family is related to the Campanulaceae, possibly also to the Passifloraceae. The tendrils are usually borne singly at the nodes and are thought to be modified axillary branches. The fruits are exceedingly diverse and odd. Some are the largest fruits of the vegetable kingdom, others are very tiny. The gourds are very diverse in shape and color,—club-shaped, globular, or flattened from above, or curiously curved.

The family is of considerable economic importance. The fruits of many are edible; e. g., Cucurbita Pepo (pumpkin, summer crookneck squash), C. maxima (squash), C. moschala (winter crookneck squash), Cucumis Melo (muskmelon and other melons), C. sativa (cucumber), Citrullus vulgaris (watermelon). The gourds are cultivated as curiosities and for the fruit to be used as household utensils, e. g., bottle-gourds and calabash (Lagenaria). The leaves, stems, or roots of very many species contain bitter, subresinous substances which render them drastic purgatives. The roots of Bryonia alba (bryony) of Europe are highly purgative. The fruits of colocinth (Citrullus Colocynthis) of the orient and North Africa furnish a purgative known to the ancients. The fruit of Luffa of India and Arabia is purgative when ripe but edible when green. The outer portion of the fruit of Luffa is very fibrous and reticulated, and, when cleaned, serves as a sponge or dish-cloth in the Antilles (luffa-sponge or Egyptian bath-sponge). The small gourd of Benincasa hispida (wax gourd or Chinese watermelon) of tropical Asia is considered an emblem of fertility in India and is presented to newly married couples. Acanthosicyos of the South African desert is remarkably erect and spiny, but the small fruit is considered a delicacy. Elaterium is a drug obtained from the juice of Ecballium Elaterium.

The most remarkable fruit is the squirting cucumber (Ecballium Elaterium) of the Mediterranean region. The prickly fruit, about 2 inches long, becomes very turgid and finally explodes with a considerable report. The basal end is blown out like a cork from a bottle, and the pulpy interior, containing the seeds, is projected to a considerable distance.

Twenty to 30 genera are in cultivation in N. America. Among these are the various melons, squashes, gourds, and the like, mentioned above; also Bryony, Wax Gourd, Balsam Pear or Balsam Apple (Momordica), Dish-cloth Gourd, Squirting Cucumber, Curuba (Sicana), and Snake Gourd (Trichosanthes).CH

The above text is from the Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture. It may be out of date, but still contains valuable and interesting information which can be incorporated into the remainder of the article. Click on "Collapse" in the header to hide this text.


There are about 118 extant genera in Cucurbitaceae, including 825 species. The following is the classification as given by Charles Jeffrey as of 1990wp.

Subfamily Zanonioideae (small striate pollen grains)

Subfamily Cucurbitoideae (styles united into a single column)

Alphabetical list of genera: Abobra Acanthosicyos Actinostemma Alsomitra Ampelosycios Anacaona Apatzingania Apodanthera Bambekea Benincasa Biswarea Bolbostemma Brandegea Bryonia Calycophysum Cayaponia Cephalopentandra Ceratosanthes Chalema Cionosicyos Citrullus Coccinia Cogniauxia Corallocarpus Cremastopus Ctenolepis Cucumella Cucumeropsis Cucumis Cucurbita Cucurbitella Cyclanthera Dactyliandra Dendrosicyos Dicaelospermum Dieterlea Diplocyclos Doyerea Ecballium Echinocystis Echinopepon Edgaria Elateriopsis Eureiandra Fevillea Gerrardanthus Gomphogyne Gurania Guraniopsis Gymnopetalum Gynostemma Halosicyos Hanburia Helmontia Hemsleya Herpetospermum Hodgsonia Ibervillea Indofevillea Kedrostis Lagenaria Lemurosicyos Luffa Marah Melancium Melothria Melothrianthus Microsechium Momordica Muellerargia Mukia Myrmecosicyos Neoalsomitra Nothoalsomitra Odosicyos Oreosyce Parasicyos Penelopeia Peponium Peponopsis Polyclathra Posadaea Praecitrullus Pseudocyclanthera Pseudosicydium Psiguria Pteropepon Pterosicyos Raphidiocystis Ruthalicia Rytidostylis Schizocarpum Schizopepon Sechiopsis Sechium Selysia Seyrigia Sicana Sicydium Sicyos Sicyosperma Siolmatra Siraitia Solena Tecunumania Telfairia Thladiantha Trichosanthes Tricyclandra Trochomeria Trochomeriopsis Tumacoca Vaseyanthus Wilbrandia Xerosicyos Zanonia Zehneria Zombitsia Zygosicyos Ref: Watson and Dallwitz 3 September 2002


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