Trailing herb, growing to 7 m long, with fleshy perennial rootstock and dioecious sex system. The leaves are simple on 1-4 cm long petioles with up to 12 cm long and broad, palmately 5-lobed to dissected leaf blades. The tendrils are simple or 2-fid. The flowers are solitary (the male ones sometimes in small racemes) and emit a strong scent. Their receptacle-tube is cup-shaped, the 5 sepals are short. The corolla is rotate with 5 ovate-lanceolate, greenish-white petals. The 3 stamens are inserted near the mouth of the tube. Their short filaments are free with two bithecous and one monothecous anthers and triplicate thecae. The pollen is triporate, echinate, medium-sized (polar axis c. 68 µm, equatorial axis c. 71 µm, with distinct margin (Khunwasi 1998)). The ovary is globose with three placentae, a slender style, three (rarely four) linear stigmata, six erect ovules and three staminodes. The fruit is a fibrous red berry, with a firm, thin wall, c. 1 cm in diameter and 3-6 slightly compressed seeds, 7-8 x 2-3 x 1.5 mm, with smooth, green or brownish testa.
The single species is found in Brazil, Argentina, and Uruguay, where it grows in xeric bushland and on dry soil. Based on chloroplast DNA analyses, Abobra is the sister group of Cayaponia (Schaefer & Renner 2011).
Abobra tenuifolia (Gillies ex Hook. & Arn.) Cogn., Diagn. Cucurb. Nouv. 2: 69. 1878.
Khunwasi, C. 1998. Palynology of the Cucurbitaceae. Doctoral Dissertation Naturwiss. Fak., University of Innsbruck.
Martínez Crovetto, R. 1954. Synopsis des Cucurbitacées de l’Uruguay. Notul. Syst. (Paris) 15: 47-55.
Schaefer, H. and S.S. Renner. 2011. Phylogenetic relationships in the order Cucurbitales and a new classification of the gourd family (Cucurbitaceae). Taxon 60: 122-138.