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Marah macrocarpa

Higher Taxonomy
Family: CucurbitaceaeView DescriptionDichotomous Key

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

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.

Marah macrocarpa (Greene) Greene
Habit: Herbage not glaucous. Flower: corolla generally > 8 mm wide, shallowly cup-shaped, white. Fruit: 5--12 cm, oblong, generally rounded at both ends (occasionally with sharp beak); prickles +- dense, stiff, unhooked. Seed: generally > 6, 13--33 mm, ovoid to oblong, not flat at 1 end. Chromosomes: 2n=32,64.
Ecology: Washes, shrubby or open areas; Elevation: < 900 m. Bioregional Distribution: SW, DSon; Distribution Outside California: Baja California. Flowering Time: Jan--Apr Note: Several varieties based on trivial features of leaves, fruit spines, seeds.
Synonyms: Marah guadalupensis (S. Watson) Greene; Marah macrocarpa var. macrocarpa; Marah macrocarpa var. major (Dunn) Stocking; Marah macrocarpa var. micrantha (Dunn) Stocking; Marah macrocarpus var. major (Dunn) Stocking, orth. var.; Marah macrocarpus, orth. var.; Marah macrocarpus var. macrocarpus, orth. var.; Marah macrocarpus var. micranthus (Dunn) Stocking, orth. var.
Unabridged Note: Marah gilensis (Greene) Greene (fruit 2--3 cm) in Arizona, New Mexico.
eFlora Treatment Author: John M. Miller & Robert L. Schlising
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botanical illustration including Marah macrocarpa


Citation for this treatment: John M. Miller & Robert L. Schlising 2017. Marah macrocarpa, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on October 20, 2017.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2017. Jepson eFlora,, accessed on October 20, 2017.

Marah macrocarpa
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© 2008 Gary A. Monroe
Marah macrocarpa
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© 2014 Keir Morse
Marah macrocarpa
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© 2016 Keir Morse
Marah macrocarpa
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© 2012 Neal Kramer
Marah macrocarpa
click for enlargement
© 2014 Keir Morse
Marah macrocarpa
click for enlargement
© 2011 Neal Kramer

More photos of Marah macrocarpa in CalPhotos

Geographic subdivisions for Marah macrocarpa:
SW, DSon;
Markers link to CCH specimen records. Yellow markers indicate records that may provide evidence for eFlora range revision or may have georeferencing or identification issues. Purple markers indicate specimens collected from a garden, greenhouse, or other non-wild location.
map of distribution 1
(Note: any qualifiers in the taxon distribution description, such as 'northern', 'southern', 'adjacent' etc., are not reflected in the map above, and in some cases indication of a taxon in a subdivision is based on a single collection or author-verified occurence).

View elevation by latitude chart
Data provided by the participants of the Consortium of California Herbaria.
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CCH collections by month

Duplicates counted once; synonyms included.
Species do not include records of infraspecific taxa.
Blue line denotes eFlora flowering time.