Herbs succulent, creeping or climbing by tendrils, with alternate leaves. Flowers monoecious or polygamous, never blue. Calyx 5-toothed, adherent. Petals 5, united, inserted on the calyx, the lobes alternating. Stamens 5, distinct, generally cohering in 3 sets. Anthers very long and wavy or twisted. Ovary inferior, 1-celled, with 3 parietal placentae often filling the cells. Fruit a pepe or membranous. Seeds flat, with no albumen, often ariled. (Fig. 442.)
Genera 60, species 300, natives of tropical regions, only a few being found in the temperate zones of Europe and America. A highly important order of plants, affording some of the most delicious and nutritive fruit A bitter laxative principle pervades the poop, which is so concentrated in a few as to render them actively medicinal. The officinal colocynth is prepared from the pulp of Cucumis Colocynthis, a powerful drastic poison.
§ Corolla white, - 6-cleft. Stigmas 2. Fruit echinate.......................
- 5-petelled. Pepo smooth, many-seeded.............
- 5-parted. Berry smooth, few seeded................
- 5 lobed. Fruit prickly, 1-seeded.................
§ Corolla yellow, - 5-lobed. Berry small, smooth, ∞-seeded..................
- 5-lobed. Pepo large. Seeds thick ar edge.............
- 5-cleft. Pepe large. - Seeds colored, thick-edged....
- Seeds white, acute-edged.......
1. ECHINOCYS'TIS, Torr. & Gray. (Gr. sea urchin, bladder; alluding to the spiny, inflated fruit.) Flowers monoecious. Sterile fl. - Calyx of 6 filiform-subulate segments, shorter than the corolla; petals 6, united at base into a rotate campanulate corolla; stamens 3, diadelphous. Fertile fls. - Cal. and cor. as above; abortive fil. 3, distinct, minute; style very short; stigmas 2, large; fruit roundish, inflated, echinate, 4-seeded.- A climbing herb with branched tendrils.
E. lobata Torr. & Gr. A smoothish, running vine in rich river soils, Can. to Penn. and Mo. St. deeply furrowed, with long, 3-parted tendrils placed nearly opposite the long petioles. Lvs. membranous, palmately 5-lobed, cordate at base,' lobes acuminate, denticulate. Fls. small, white, the barren ones very numerous, in axillary racemes often 1f long; fertile ones solitary or several, situated at the base of the raceme. Fr. 1 to 2' in length, setose-echinate, at length dry and membranous, with 4 large seeds. Jl. - Sept. (Sicyos Mx. Momordica echinata Muhl.)
2. LAGENARIA, Ser. Gourd. (Gr. a flagon or bottle; from the form of the fruit.) Flowers . Calyx campanulate, 5-toothed; petals 5, obovate. Stamens 5, triadelphous; anthers very long, contorted. Stigmas 3, thick, 2-lobed, subsessile; pepo ligneous, 1-celled; seeds ariled, obeorfote, compressed, margin tumid. - Mostly climbing by tendrils.
L. vulgar's Ser. Calabash. Bottle Gourd. Softly pubescent; st. climbing by branching tendrils; lvs. roundish-cordate, abruptly acuminate, denticulate, with 2 glands beneath at base; fls. axillary, solitary, pedunculate; fr. clavate, ventricous. at length smooth.- Gardens. The hard, woody rind of the fruit is used us ladles, bottles, etc. Fls. white. Jl., Aug. ‡ Tropical.
3.BRYONIA, L. Bryony. (Gr.to grow rapidly.) Flowers or . Calyx 5-toothed, teeth short; corolla 5-cleft or parted;
stamens 5, triadelphous, with flexuous anthers; style trifid; berry small, globular, few seeded. - Fls. greenish white.
B. Boykinii Torr. & Gr. Scabrous pubescent; lvs. deeply 3 to 5-lobed, cordate, denticulate, acuminate-cuspidate; fls. (small) clustered in the axils, both kinds together, on short pedicels; berries oval, 3-seeded. - In wet grounds, along streams, Ga. to La. (Hale). Sts. 10 to 20f long, climbing over bushes by simple or forked tendrils. Fr. as large as a small plum, bright crimson, changing to yellow. The seeds with 2 lateral teeth. Jn., Jl.
4. SIC'YOS, L. Single-seed Cucumber. (Gr. the ancient name of the cucumber.) Flowers . Calyx 5-toothcd; corolla rotate, 5-petaled; stamens 5, monadelphous, or at length triadelphous, anthers contorted. Calyx 5-toothed, campanulate; petals 5, united at base into a campanulate corolla; styles 3, united at base; fruit ovate, membranous, hispid or eehinate, with one large, compressed seed.- Climbing herbs, with compound tendrils. Sterile and fertile fls. in the same axils.
S, angulatus L. St. branching, hairy; lvs. roundish, cordate, with an obtuse sinus, 5-angled or 5-lobed, lobes acuminate, denticulate; much smaller than . Can. and U. S. A weak climbing vine, with long, spiral, branching tendrils. Lvs. 3 to 4 broad, alternate, on long stalks. Fls. whitish, marked with green lines, the barren in long pedunculate rac. Fr. 6" long, ovate, spinous, 8 to 10 together in a crowded cluster, each with one large seed. Jl. Sept.
5. MELO'THRIA, L. (Gr. , a melon, a certain food.) Flowers or . Calyx infundibuliform-campanulate, limb in 5 subulate segments; petals 5, united into a campanulate corolla.