FAMILY OF THE WEEK : CUCURBITACEAE
In India around 37 genera and 97 species,several of which are cultivated throught India. The chief centre of distribution is however East Himalayas.Gourd,Bottle gourd,Cucumber,Red pumpkin and melon are common species known in cultivation.
Succulent,trailing or decumbent annual or perennial herbs, usually climbing by means of tendrils. The tendrils are lateral spirally coiled,simple or variously branched structures.
The stem is usually five angular. The leaves are alternate, long petioled,frequently cordate, simple but often palmately or pinnately lobed or divided and palminerved.Stipules are absent.
Inflorescence and flowers:
Flowers are usually solitary or in cymose inflorescence.The plants are monoecious or dioecious. The flowers are yellow or white, unisexual, actinomorphic, pentamerous and epigynous.The calyx is of five sepals forming a tube adnate to the ovary in female flowers.The aestivation is imbricate or valvate. The corolla is of five petals which are united in a tube or nearly quite free. The corolla is campanulate, rotate or salverform, and the lobes are imbricate.
The androecium shows much variation consisting of basically 5 distinct to completely connate stamens that frequently are twisted, folded or reduced in number.
The gynoecium consists of a single compound pistil of 2-5 carpels, generally with one style and as many style branches or major stigma lobes as carpels, and an inferior ovary with one locule and usually numerous ovules on 2-5 parietal placentae or 3 locules with numerous ovules on axile placentae.
The fruit is a fleshy berry-like with soft or hard pericarp. This type of fruit is called pepo.
The seeds are often packed in a pulp or fibre.
Pollination is by insects for nectar secreted by nectariferous disc.
The seeds are dispersed by explosive opening of fruit or by animals and birds.
The family provides a large number of fruits which are eaten raw or cooked.
Luffa cyllindrica(L.) syn Luffa egyptiaca. Gourd.
Luffa acutangula Roxb.
Lagenaria siceraria; Lageneria vulgaris(Bottle gourd;Lauki)
Cucumis sativus L.(Cucumber,Khira)
Cucumis melo L.(Melon,Kharbuz)
Cucumis melo L.variant momordica(Phut)
Cucumis melo L. var. utilissimus (Kakri)
Citrullus lanatus;Citrullusvulgaris (Watermelon,Tarbuz)
Cucurbita moschata (Pumpkin)
Cucurbita maxima (Red pumpkin)
Cucurbita melo (Field pumpkin)
Binincasa hispida (White gourd;Petha)
Momordia charantia (Bitter gourd;Karela)
Trichosanthes anguina (Snake gourd;Chachinda)
Trichosanthes dioica Roxb.(Pointed gourd;Padwal)
Coccinia cordia;Coccinia indica (Ivy gourd)