Cucurbitaceae

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Cucurbitaceae is a plant family commonly known as melons, gourds or cucurbits and includes crops like cucumbers, squashes (including pumpkins), luffas, melons (including watermelons). The family is predominantly distributed around the tropics, where those with edible fruits were amongst the earliest cultivated plants in both the Old and New Worlds.

Most of the plants in this family are annual vines but there are also woody lianas, thorny shrubs, and 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

There are about 125 extant genera in Cucurbitaceae, including 960 species. The following is the classification as given by Charles Jeffrey as of 1990.

Subfamily Zanonioideae (small striate pollen grains)

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