Overview

Comprehensive Description

Description

Climbing or prostrate, annual or perennial, monoecious or dioecious, herbs, less often woody lianes, rarely erect herbs without tendrils. Leaves alternate, palmately veined and often palmately lobed. Tendrils usually 1 at each node, rarely 0. Flowers unisexual, epigynous, axillary. Glandular bract-like "probracts" sometimes present at base of peduncles. Petals usually 5, free or united; corolla usually actinomorphic. Stamens basically 5 but commonly modified; staminodes often present in female flowers. Ovary inferior, 1(-3)-locular. Style with 2 or 3 lobes or styles 3. Fruit a capsule, berry or hard-shelled pepo.
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© Mark Hyde, Bart Wursten and Petra Ballings

Source: Flora of Zimbabwe

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Ecology

Associations

Foodplant / pathogen
acervulus of Colletotrichum coelomycetous anamorph of Colletotrichum coccodes infects and damages live stem (base) of Cucurbitaceae
Other: minor host/prey

Foodplant / pathogen
live, distorted leaf of Cucumber Green Mottle virus infects and damages Cucurbitaceae

Foodplant / pathogen
Cucumber Mosaic virus infects and damages live, reduced in number fruit of Cucurbitaceae

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Evolution and Systematics

Functional Adaptations

Functional adaptation

Seeds disperse long distances: liana
 

The seed pods of Alsomitra, an Asian liana, employ large paper-thin wings that allow long-distance gliding dispersal.

     
  "Alsomitra, a liana growing in the tropical forests of Asia, produces its seeds packed together within a pod in sheaves of several hundred. Each is equipped with a wing on its side, which is so paper-thin as to be almost transparent. Although the seed itself is about as heavy as a pea, its wing is so large that the loading is very light, and when the whole glider is released it descends very slowly and is therefore capable of travelling for a hundred yards or more." (Attenborough 1995:18)
  Learn more about this functional adaptation.
  • Attenborough, D. 1995. The Private Life of Plants: A Natural History of Plant Behavior. London: BBC Books. 320 p.
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© The Biomimicry Institute

Source: AskNature

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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD) Stats
Specimen Records:2288
Specimens with Sequences:2894
Specimens with Barcodes:1747
Species:622
Species With Barcodes:619
Public Records:1849
Public Species:598
Public BINs:0
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Source: Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD)

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Barcode data

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Source: Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD)

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Wikipedia

Cucurbitaceae

The Cucurbitaceae, also cucurbits, are a plant family, sometimes called the gourd family, consisting of around a hundred genera, the most important of which are:

The plants in this family are grown around the tropics and in temperate areas, where those with edible fruits were among the earliest cultivated plants both in the Old and New Worlds. The Cucurbitaceae family ranks among the highest of plant families for number and percentage of species used as human food.[2]

Pumpkins and squashes displayed in a show competition

The Cucurbitaceae consist of 98 proposed genera with 975 species,[3] mainly in regions tropical and subtropical. All species are sensitive to frost. Most of the plants in this family are annual vines, but some are woody lianas, thorny shrubs, or trees (Dendrosicyos). Many species have large, yellow or white flowers. The stems are hairy and pentangular. Tendrils are present at 90° to the leaf petioles at nodes. Leaves are exstipulate alternate simple palmately lobed or palmately compound. The flowers are unisexual, with male and female flowers on different plants (dioecious) or on the same plant (monoecious). The female flowers have inferior ovaries. The fruit is often a kind of modified berry called a pepo.

Classification[edit]

Seen on this image is a selection of cucurbits of the South Korean Genebank in Suwon

The following is a classification given by Charles Jeffrey in 1990. However, a 2011 study based on genetics does not support this taxonomy with two subfamilies and eight tribes, but rather delineates 15 tribes, five of them new, consisting of 95 genera rather than Jeffrey's 121.[4]

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

References[edit]

  1. ^ Angiosperm Phylogeny Group (2009). "An update of the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group classification for the orders and families of flowering plants: APG III" (PDF). Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society 161 (2): 105–121. doi:10.1111/j.1095-8339.2009.00996.x. Retrieved 2013-07-06. 
  2. ^ "Cucurbits". Purdue University. Retrieved August 26, 2013. 
  3. ^ http://www.mobot.org/MOBOT/research/APweb/
  4. ^ Schaefer, Hanno; Renner, Susanne S. (February 2011). "Phylogenetic Relationships in the Order Cucurbitales and a New Classification of the Gourd Family (Cucurbitaceae)" (PDF). Taxon 60 (1): 122–138. Retrieved 2 May 2011. 
  5. ^ Renner, S. S., Schaefer, H. & Kocyan, A.; Schaefer, H; Kocyan, A (2007). "Phylogenetics of Cucumis (Cucurbitaceae): Cucumber (C. sativus) belongs in an Asian/Australian clade far from melon (C. melo)". BMC Evolutionary Biology 7: 58–69. doi:10.1186/1471-2148-7-58. PMC 3225884. PMID 17425784. 
  • David Bates, Richard Robinson, Charles Jeffrey, eds. (1990). Biology and Utilization of the Cucurbitaceae. Cornell UP. ISBN 0-8014-1670-1. 
  • Jeffrey, C. 2005. A new system of Cucurbitaceae. Bot. Zhurn 90: 332–335.
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