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Vascular Plants of California
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Marah fabacea
CALIFORNIA MAN-ROOT


Higher Taxonomy
Family: CucurbitaceaeView DescriptionDichotomous Key
Common Name: GOURD FAMILY
Habit: 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.
Genera In Family: 100 genera, 700 species: especially tropics; some cultivated (Citrullus, watermelon; Cucumis, cucumber; Cucurbita, gourd, pumpkin, squash; Luffa, loofah; Sechium, chayote). Note: Several cultivated species included Bryonia dioica reported as waifs in California (Howell 1958 Wasmann J Biol 16:1--157), but none recently.
eFlora Treatment Author: John M. Miller & Robert L. Schlising
Scientific Editor: Douglas H. Goldman, Bruce G. Baldwin.
Genus: MarahView DescriptionDichotomous Key


Common Name: MAN-ROOT, WILD CUCUMBER
Habit: Perennial herb; tuber large; occasionally temporarily dioecious. Stem: +- scabrous or hairy, glabrous in age; tendril branched. Leaf: +- round, +- cordate, +- 5--7-lobed. Inflorescence: staminate flowers in racemes or panicles (or 1 flower per node early); pistillate flower 1 per node, generally at same nodes as staminate. Flower: sepals 0; staminate flower 3--15 mm wide, rotate to cup-shaped, white to cream or yellow-green; stamens fused, anthers twisted together; stigma (pistillate flowers) 1, +- hemispheric. Fruit: capsule, irregular-dehiscent from tip, +- symmetric, 3--20 cm, spheric to ovate or oblong, +- prickly, beak << body or 0. Seed: 1--many, generally > 1 cm, +- ovate, +- flat.
Species In Genus: 7 species: western North America. Etymology: (Hebrew: bitter, from taste of all parts)
Unabridged Note: Sometimes included in Echinocystis.
Reference: Borchert 2006 Ecol Res 21:641--650
Unabridged Reference: Nicholls & Bohm 1982 J Nat Prod 45:453--454; Schlising 1969 Amer J Bot 56:552--561
Marah fabacea (Naudin) Greene
NATIVE
Habit: Herbage generally not glaucous. Flower: corolla rotate, yellow-green to cream or (especially inland) white. Fruit: 4--5 cm, +- spheric; prickles sparse to +- dense, < 12 mm, +- stiff, unhooked. Seed: 2--4, 18--24 mm, ovate to oblong, +- flat on sides or not. Chromosomes: 2n=32.
Ecology: Streamsides, washes, shrubby open areas; Elevation: < 1600 m. Bioregional Distribution: CA-FP (exc n NW, n CaR), DMoj. Flowering Time: Feb--Apr
Synonyms: Marah fabaceus, orth. var.
Unabridged Synonyms: Marah fabacea var. agrestis (Greene) Stocking
Jepson eFlora Author: John M. Miller & Robert L. Schlising
Reference: Borchert 2006 Ecol Res 21:641--650
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Botanical illustration including Marah fabacea

botanical illustration including Marah fabacea

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Citation for this treatment: John M. Miller & Robert L. Schlising 2012, Marah fabacea, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora, http://ucjeps.berkeley.edu/eflora/eflora_display.php?tid=101920, accessed on October 13, 2019.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2019, Jepson eFlora, http://ucjeps.berkeley.edu/eflora/, accessed on October 13, 2019.

Marah fabacea
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© 2007 Neal Kramer
Marah fabacea
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© 2013 California Academy of Sciences
Marah fabacea
click for enlargement
© 2008 Neal Kramer
Marah fabacea
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© 2016 Neal Kramer
Marah fabacea
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© 2015 Barry Breckling
Marah fabacea
click for enlargement
© 2015 Neal Kramer

More photos of Marah fabacea in CalPhotos



Geographic subdivisions for Marah fabacea:
CA-FP (exc n NW, n CaR), DMoj.
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Duplicates counted once; synonyms included.
Species do not include records of infraspecific taxa, if there are more than 1 infraspecific taxon in CA.
Blue line denotes eFlora flowering time.