This section is from the book "The Standard Cyclopedia Of Horticulture Vol2", by L. H. Bailey. See also: Western Garden Book: More than 8,000 Plants - The Right Plants for Your Climate - Tips from Western Garden Experts.
(old Latin name). Cucurbitaceae. Tendril-bearing soft tender herbs, some of which are grown for their edible fruits.
Annual or perennial-rooted (the common cultivation species annual), with large alternate entire or palmately lobed or dissected leaves: monoecious (rarely dioecious); sterile flowers in clusters, not long-stalked, the fertile ones solitary and mostly short-stalked in the axils; corolla of 5 deep acute lobes; stamens not united; stigmas 3, obtuse: tendrils simple: fruit a pepo, mostly 3-celled, usually indehiscent, fleshy or thick, globular, oblong or cylindrical, sometimes echinate, many-seeded. - About 30 species of villous or spinescent climbers and trailers with annual stems, in warm parts of the globe, most abundant in Africa Monogr. by Cogniaux, DC. Monogr. Phaner. 3. See, also, Naudin, Ann. Sci. Nat. (Bot.) IV. 11:9; 12:108.
A. The melon group: fruit smooth at maturity or only pubescent (not spiny or tuberculate).
Melo, Linn. Melon. Muskmelon. Figs. 1123, 1124. Long-running, hairy or villous annual: leaves large, soft-hairy, round-heart-shaped or reniform, sometimes rounded-lobed and more or less denticulate: male flowers clustered, the peduncle short: fruit very variable, pubescent or becoming glabrous. S. Asia and tropical Africa - Very variable, and widely cultivation.
1. Subspecies or variety agrestis, Naudin. The wild or run-wild or spontaneous plant: slender: flowers small, short-peduncled, often in 2's or 3's: fruit oblong or turbinate, size of a plum, not edible. - To this subspecies
Fig. 1123. Staminate flower of Cucumis Melo. (Nat. size)
Fig. 1124. Pistillate flower of Cucumis Melo. (Natural size.)
Cogniaux refers such names as C. Chate, Linn., C. pubescens, Willd., C. maculatus, Willd., C. (Campechianus Kunth, C. Gurmia and C. Chaeta, Wall., C. maderas-patanus, Roxbg., C. eriocarpus, Boiss., C. picrocarpus and C. jucundus, Muell., C. trigonus, Benth. (not Roxbg.), C. Pancherianus, Naudin, and the varietal names maculatus, Cossonia-nus, texanus, cantonianus, saharunporensis, anatolicus, aethiopicus of Naudin.
2. Subspecies or variety culta, Kurz. The many forms of the cult, melon: plant very robust: flowers longer-pedunculate, 3-5 together and large: fruit large to very large, edible: widely variable; when forced under glass the leaves tend to be more prominently lobed. See Melon. Forms of this group may be distinguished as follows: variety Chito, Naudin (C. Chito, Morr.). Orange Melon. Mango Melon. Melon Apple. Vine Peach. Garden Lemon. Vegetable Orange. Vine less robust than that of the musk-melon, and leaves smaller: fruit size, shape and color of an orange or lemon, without markings, with a white or pale yellow cucumber-like flesh, with no muskmelon odor. Not edible in its natural state, but useful for the making of preserves (or "mangoes") and pickles. Name pronounced keeto. Cf. Bull. 15, Cornell Exp. Sta.; A.G. 14:206. - The "Lemon cucumber" offered by dealers is apparently a form of C. sativus, the fruit being nearly round with yellow and green markings and smooth skin, like the lemon. - variety Dudaim, Naudin (C. Dudaim, Linn. C. odoratissimus, Moench). Dudaim Melon. Pomegranate Melon. Queen Anne's Pocket Melon. Vine small, as in the last: fruit size and shape of an orange, somewhat flattened at the ends, very regular and smooth, marbled with longitudinal markings of cinnamon-brown overlying yellow, exceedingly fragrant.
A most handsome gourdlike fruit and highly and deliciously perfumed. Not eaten. A nearly odorless and scarlet-rinded form is separated by Naudin as variety erythrseus. - variety acidulus, Naudin. Cucumber Melon. fruits oblong or cylindrical, mottled or unicolored, the flesh white and cucumber-flavored. No varieties in the American trade are of this group, but they are occasionally seen in botanical gardens and experimental grounds that import seeds of oriental plants. - variety flexuosus, Naudin (C. flexuosus, Linn.). Snake MELon. Snake Cucumber. fruit many times longer than broad, greenish at maturity, variously curved and furrowed. A.G. 14: 203. fruit often 2-3 ft. long, and 1-3 in. diam. Grown mostly as an oddity, but it is useful for the making of conserves. The hard-shelled snake gourd is a Lagen-aria (which see). - variety inoddrus, Naudin. Winter Melon. Leaves lighter colored, less hairy, narrower: fruits possessing little or none of the common muskmelon odor, and keeping long. The winter muskmelons are little known in this country, although they are worth) of popularity. Much cult, in parts of the Medit. region. - variety saccharinus, Naudin. Pineapple Melon. Comprising varieties of oblong shape and very sweet flesh.
Not sufficiently distinct from the next. - variety reticulatus, Naudin. Nutmeg or Netted Melons. fruits softer rinded, more or less netted, or sometimes almost plain or smooth. Comprises the common muskmelons, aside from cantaloupes. - variety cantalupensis, Naudin. Cantaloupe. Rock Melons. fruits mostly hard-rinded, more or less warty, scaly or rough, often deeply furrowed or grooved. Name derived from Canta-luppi, near Rome, a former country seat of the Pope, whither this type of melons was brought from Armenia. In the U. S. the word cantaloupe is often used as a generic name for muskmelon, but it is properly a name of only one group of muskmelons-the hard and scaly-rinded (see Waugh, G.F. 8:183).
AA. The cucumber group: fruit spiny or tuberculate (nearly unarmed in C. Sacleuxii).
Figs. 1125, 1126. Long-running, prickly: leaves usually 3-lobed (or strongly angled), the middle lobe most prominent and often pointed: fruit prickly or muricate, at least when young, but in some varieties becoming smooth, mostly oblong, the flesh white. S. Asia. See Cucumber. Runs into many fruit - forms in cultivation, but not so widely polymorphous as C. Melo. - variety anglicus, Bailey. Figs. 1121, 1122. English or Forcing Cucumber. A product of cult, and selection, distinguished from the common or field cucumbers as follows: fruits (and ovaries) very long and slender, little if any furrowed, spineless or nearly so when grown, nearly or quite green at maturity, comparatively few-seeded: flowers very large: leaves very broad in proportion to their length, with shallower sinuses: vines very vigorous, with long and thick tendrils. - variety sikkimensis, Hook, f., cult, in the Himalayan Mts., but not known to be in this country; has large 7-9-lobed leaves and cylindrical-club-shaped fruit B.M. 6206.
Fig. 1125. Cucumis sativus. Staminate flower at s; pistillate at p. (X 1/3)
(C. echinatus, Moench. C. angurioides, Roem. C. grossulariaeformis, Hort.). Bur Cucumber. West Indian Gherkin. Gooseberry Gourd. Figs. 1127, 1128. stems slender, hispid: leaves deeply cut into 3-5 narrow obovate or spatulate divisions, watermelonlike: flowers small, the pistillate long-stalked: fruit 1-3 in. long, cucumber-like but more spiny. Supposed to be native to the American tropics. B.M. 5817. - Cult, both for the oddity of its fruits and for the making of pickles. The gherkins of mixed pickles, however, are young cucumbers.
(C. bardana and C. ambigua, Fenzl. C. erinaceus, Hort.). Dipsaceous Gourd. Ostrich-Egg Gourd. Hedgehog Gourd. Plant and foliage like that of C. Melo: flowers long-stalked: fruit 1-2 in. long, oblong or nearly spherical, becoming hard and dry, densely beset with long scales or hairs, and looking like a bur. Arabia,
Fig. 1126. Branch of Cucumis sativus.
Fig. 1127. Spray of Cucumis Anguria. (X 1/2)
Fig. 1128. Fruit of Cucumis Anguria. (X 1/2)
Africa R.H. 1860, p. 210. - Cult, as an ornamental gourd.
Slender, hairy, whitish: leaves roundish-reniform, obscurely lobed and irregularly dentate, scabrous on both surfaces and grayish green: flowers solitary; males on long-filiform peduncles, the females on shorter but slender peduncles and with hairy ovary: fruit ovoid, 3-4 in. long and half as thick at the middle, somewhat scabrous, with longitudinal stripes of fighter green; seeds brown, 1/5in. long. Zanzibar. - Said to be ornamental and the fruits useful for pickles. C. acutangulus, Hort.=Luffa. - C. Citrullus, Ser.=Citrullus vulgaris. - C. Colocynthis, Linn.=Citrullus Colocynthis. - C. metu-llferus, Mey. Hispid annual, with palmately somewhat 3-lobed cordate petiolate leaves, and oblong-obtuse spiny fruit, about 4 in. long. S. Africa - C. perennis, James=Cucurbita. - C. prophetarum, Linn. Slender perennial with ashy scabrous long-stalked mostly 3-5-lobed leaves, and longitudinally white-striped softly spinose fruit 1-1 3/4 in. long. Africa - C. Vilmorinii, Hort. A plant of unrecorded origin, with cut leaves and abundance of canary-yellow soft-spined fruits L H B