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Pakistan | Family List



Department of Botany, University of Karachi, Karachi-32.

Annual or perennial herbs or undershrubs, prostrate or climbing, mostly with simple or branched tendrils. Leaves exstipulate, petiolate, alternate, lamina entire or palmately, pedately or pinnately divided, rarely compound. Inflorescence paniculate, racemose, umbellate or subumbellate or flowers solitary. Flowers unisexual (plants then monoecious or dioecious), very rarely bisexual, actinomorphic, yellow or white. Sepals mostly 5, united into a rotate, campanulate, saucer-shaped or tubular calyx, adnate to and often produced beyond the ovary in female flowers, with 5, imbricate or open lobes. Petals mostly 5, free or united into a rotate or campanulate corolla, with 5, imbricate or induplicate-valvate, entire or rarely fimbriate lobes. Stamens basically 5, of which 4 mostly connate in pairs, thus giving false impression of only 3 stamens or sometimes 2 or 1 due to cohesions, anthers connate or free, all monothecous when all stamens free, 1 monothecous and other 2 dithecous when stamens 3, thecae straight, curved, flexuous or conduplicate, connective often produced; staminodes often present in female flowers. Carpels (2-) 3 (-5), syncarpous; ovary inferior to semi-inferior, mostly unilocular, rarely more loculed, ovules numerous, anatropous with parietal, fleshy placentas, mostly meeting in the middle; style simple, rarely (2-) 3, free, stigmas (2-) 3, bilobed, thick. Fruit an elongated or globose berry or pepo, rarely capsule, indehiscent or variously dehiscent, smooth or covered with tubercles or prickles. Seeds mostly flattened, occasionally winged, exalbuminous, embryo straight.

A family of about 120 genera and 825 species, mostly distributed in tropical countries, poorly represented in temperate regions. Represented in Pakistan by 17 genera and 32 specific and infraspecific taxa. Taxa marked with an asterisk (*) are known from cultivation only.

Excluded species

Zehneria scabra (Linn. f.) Sond. in Harv. & Sond., Fl. Cap. 2:486. 1862. (Melothria perpusilla (Bl.) Cogn. in A. & C. DC., Monogr., Phan. 3:607. 1881).

Bryonia scabra Linn. f., Suppl. 423. 1871.

Stewart, l.c. doubtfully included the taxon on the report of Shaukat Ali Chaudhri but so far no authentic specimen has been seen either by Stewart or by the present authors. It appears that this Afro, Indo-Malayan element does not occur in Pakistan.

Acknowledgements: We are grateful to Mr. C. Jeffrey (Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew) for kindly going through the manuscript and offering suggestions for its improvement. The financial assistance received from the United States Department of Agriculture under P.L. 480 with the coordination of the Pakistan Agricultural Research Council, Islamabad, is thankfully acknowledged.

1 Petals free   (2)
+ Petals united   (3)
2 (1) Petiole with a pair of glands below the lamina. All flowers solitary. Fruit polymorphic, woody, indehiscent   5 Lagenaria
+ Petiole without glands below the lamina. Male flowers racemose, female solitary. Fruit oblong or cylindric, fibrous, dehiscing by a terminal operculum   9 Luffa
3 (1) Corolla segments fimbriate, with long delicate filaments   17 Trichosanthes
+ Corolla segments not fimbriate   (4)
4 (3) Calyx tube of male flowers closed at the bot¬tom by 2-3 incurved scales. Peduncle mostly with large foliaceous bracts   1 Momordica
+ Calyx tube of male flowers without scales. Peduncle mostly ebracteate   (5)
5 (4) Petiole with stipule-like lamina at the base   13 Ctenolepis
+ Petiole without stipule-like lamina at the base   (6)
6 (5) Flowers up to 5 mm long   (7)
+ Flowers more than 5 mm long   (11)
7 (6) Corolla lobes triangular. Ovary oblong   12 Solena
+ Corolla lobes otherwise. Ovary ovoid   (8)
8 (7) Fruit operculately dehiscent at the base. Disc absent   11 Corallocarpus
+ Fruit indehiscent. Disc present   (9)
9 (8) Connective appendaged or 2-fid. Disc obscure annular. Fruit beaked   10 Kedrostis
+ Connective apiculate, not appendaged or 2-fid. Disc distinct, annular or cupular. Fruit not beaked   (10)
10 (9) Ovules numerous. Seeds not scorbiculate, mostly without a distinct margin   15 Cucumis
+ Ovules few, seeds scorbiculate, with thick raised margins   14 Mukia
11 (6) Leaves pinnately lobed   (12)
+ Leaves entire or palmately lobed   (13)
12 (11) Pollen grains reticulate. Leaves deeply pinnatipartite   3 Citrullus
+ Pollen grains echinate. Leaves sparingly pinnatifid   4 Praecitrullus
13 (11) All flowers solitary (or corymbose-subcorymbose in Coccinia)   (14)
+ Male flowers racemose, fasciculate or clustered   (16)
14 (13) Flowers white. Leaves glabrous, punctate on upper surface, sometimes glandular beneath   6 Coccinia
+ Flowers yellow. Leaves densely or roughly hirsute on both sides or somewhat long haired on nerves beneath to scabrescent   (15)
15 (14) Calyx lobes entire. Corolla lobes recurved at the apex; anthers united into an oblong head   16 Cucurbita
+ Calyx lobes serrate. Corolla lobes not recurved or reflexed at the apex; anthers free, exserted   2 Benincasa
16 (13) Seeds not marginate, compressed, tendrils always simple   15 Cucumis
+ Seeds marginate inflated, tendrils branched (always simple in Bryonia)   (17)
17 (16) Calyx tube lined within by a nectary. Plants monoecious. Male and female flowers often together in the same axil   7 Diplocyclos
+ Calyx tube lined within by a nectary. Plants monoecious. Male and female flowers often together in the same axil   8 Bryonia

  • List of lower taxa


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