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Key to families | Table of families and genera

Specimen numbers are hyperlinked to records in the Consortium of California Herbaria data view where possible. Taxa are hyperlinked to entries in the Jepson Interchange via the "[Online Interchange]" link.



John M. Miller & Robert L. Schlising

Annual, perennial herb; hairs often hard from calcium deposits; generally monoecious. Stem: trailing or climbing, 1–many; tendril generally 1 per node, often branched. Leaf: generally simple, alternate, generally palmate-lobed and -veined, petioled; stipules 0. Inflorescence: at nodes; staminate flowers in racemes, panicles, small clusters, (or 1); pistillate flowers generally 1. Flower: unisexual [bisexual], radial; hypanthium > ovary; calyx generally 5-lobed (or ± 0); corolla rotate to cup- or bell-shaped, generally 5-lobed; stamens 3–5 (or ± 1–3 from fusion), anthers twisted together, often > filaments; ovary ± inferior, chambers 3–5, placentas parietal, styles 1–3, stigmas generally lobed, large. Fruit: berry, drying or not, or capsule, irregularly dehiscent, often gourd- or melon-like. Seed: 1–many.
100 genera, 700 species: especially tropics; some cultivated (Citrullus, watermelon; Cucumis, cucumber; Cucurbita, gourd, pumpkin, squash; Luffa, loofah; Sechium, chayote). [Schaefer et al. 2009 Proc Roy Soc London Ser B, Biol Sci 276:843–851] Several cultivated species included Bryonia dioica reported as waifs in California (Howell 1958 Wasmann J Biol 16:1–157), but none recently. —Scientific Editors: Douglas H. Goldman, Bruce G. Baldwin.
Unabridged references: [Jeffrey 1990 An outline classification of the Cucurbitaceae, In: Bates, Robinson, and Jeffrey (eds.), Biology and Utilization of the Cucurbitaceae 17:449–463, Cornell Univ Press, Ithaca, NY; Kocyan et al. 2007 Molec Phylogen Evol 44:553–577; Lira, Rodriguez-Jimenez, Alvarado, Rodriguez, Castrejon, Dominguez-Mariani 1998 Acta Bot Mex 42: 43–77; McVaugh 2001 Cucurbitaceae In W.R. Anderson (ed), Flora Novo-Galiciana 3:483–652, Univ Michigan Herbarium, Ann Arbor, Michigan; Schaefer et al. 2008 Syst Bot 33:125–132]

Key to Cucurbitaceae

1. Corolla white to ± green or cream, < 2 cm wide; staminate flowers generally in racemes, panicles, or small clusters, pistillate flowers 1 or in small clusters, generally at same nodes as staminate; fruit generally prickly, irregular-dehiscent or not; seeds generally not flat

2. Staminate flower < 3 mm wide; fruit asymmetric, < 1 cm, beak ± = body; Desert ..... BRANDEGEA

2' Staminate flower >= 3 mm wide; fruit ± symmetric, > 2 cm, beak << body or 0; California Floristic Province, Desert ..... MARAH

1' Corolla yellow to orange, generally 2–12 cm wide; staminate, pistillate flowers 1–few, generally at different nodes; fruit generally unarmed (prickly in some Cucumis), gourd- or melon-like, indehiscent; seeds ± flat

3. Corolla > 3 cm wide, deeply cup-shaped, fused part > 3 cm; annual or perennial herb from large, tuber-like root ..... CUCURBITA

3' Corolla generally < 3 cm wide, shallowly rotate to cup-shaped, fused part < 1 cm; annual

4. Tendril branched; fruit > 6 cm wide; leaf ± palmately lobed, 1° lobes ± pinnately lobed ..... CITRULLUS

4' Tendril unbranched; fruit 2–6 cm wide; leaf angular or ± palmately lobed, 1° lobes, if present, ± entire or irregularly lobed ..... CUCUMIS


Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) [year] Jepson eFlora, [accessed on month, day, year]
Citation for an individual treatment: [Author of taxon treatment] [year]. [Taxon name] in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora, [URL for treatment]. Accessed on [month, day, year].
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