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Cucurbitella | Cucurbitaceae

Cucurbitella.

Cucurbitella Walp.
Curcubitella Walp., Repert. Bot. Syst. 6: 50. 1846. = Cucurbitella Walp. corr. Walpers. 1847.
Type: Cucurbitella asperata (Gillies ex Hook. & Arn.) Walp., J. Gillies s.n. (K, isolectotype; E), Argentina, Mendoza,
Prasopepon Naudin, Ann. Sci. Nat. Bot. ser. 5. 5: 26. 1866.

Climbers or trailers with up to several meters long, herbaceous shoots, perennial tuberous roots, and monoecious or dioecious sex system. The leaves are simple, petiolate, with entire, dissected, or palmately 3-7-lobed blade. The tendrils are simple. The flowers are small, male flowers are produced in racemes (rarely solitary), female flowers solitary. The receptacle-tube is campanulate with five sepals. The corolla is imbricate with five orange to yellow petals, which are fused in the lower half. The three stamens are inserted near the mouth of the tube on short, conspicuously hirsute filaments. Two anthers are bithecous, one monothecous, with straight thecae that contain tricolporate, finely reticulate, medium-sized pollen (polar axis 59-67 µm, equatorial axis 58-71 µm, (Khunwasi 1998)). The ovary is oblong, pubescent, with five placentae and many horizontal ovules. The style is columnar with five bifid stigmata. The fruit is a globose berry, ripening greenish with white spots or lines and many ovate, compressed seeds in green, sticky pulp. The testa is smooth, brown, with distinct margin.

One variable species growing in dry bushland, along roadsides and on disturbed ground in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Uruguay, Paraguay.

Cucurbitella is placed in the tribe Coniandreae, where it groups with Apodanthera and Doyerea (Schaefer et al. 2009) but its exact phylogenetic position remains to be resolved.

Accepted species

Cucurbitella asperata (Gillies ex Hook. & Arn.) Walp., Repert. Bot. Syst. 6: 50. 1846.

Literature

Khunwasi, C. 1998. Palynology of the Cucurbitaceae. Doctoral Dissertation Naturwiss. Fak., University of Innsbruck.

Pozner, R. 1998. Revisión del género Cucurbitella (Cucurbitaceae). Ann. Missouri Bot. Gard. 85: 425-439.

Schaefer, H., Heibl, C., and S.S. Renner. 2009. Gourds afloat: a dated phylogeny reveals an Asian origin of the gourd family (Cucurbitaceae) and numerous oversea dispersal events. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 276: 843-851