Slender, mostly climbing vines, with simple or rarely bifid tendrils, lobed or entire thin leaves, and small white or yellow monoecious flowers, the staminate clustered, the pistillate often solitary. Calyx campanulate, 5-toothed. Corolla campanulate, deeply 5-parted. Stamens 3 in the staminate flowers, the anthers distinct or slightly united, the pistil wanting or rudimentary. Fertile flowers with 1 pistil; ovary ovoid, constricted below the corolla; placentae 3; ovules numerous; style short; stigmas 3, linear. Fruit small, berry-like, pulpy, many-seeded. [From the Greek for some vine, probably Bryonia cretica.]

About 70 species, natives of warm and tropical regions, most abundant in the Old World. Besides the following typical one, 3 or 4 others occur in the southern United States.

2 Melothria L Sp Pl 35 1753 682

1. Melothria Pendula L. Creeping Cucumber

Fig. 4011

Melothria pendula L. Sp. Pl. 35. 1753.

Root perennial. Stem slender, climbing to a height of 3°-5°, branched, glabrous, grooved; petioles 1/2'-2 1/2' long; leaves nearly orbicular in outline, finely pubescent or scabrous on both sides, cordate at the base, 5-lobed or 5-angled, denticulate or dentate; tendrils puberulent; staminate flowers 4-7, racemose, borne on a peduncle 1/2'-1' long; fertile flowers solitary, slender-peduncled; corolla greenish white, about 2" broad; fruit smooth, ovoid, green, 4"-6" long.

In thickets, Pennsylvania (Schweinitz, according to Cog-niaux); Virginia to Florida, west to Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri and northern Mexico. June-Sept.