S. NAZIMUDDIN AND S. SHAHARYAR H. NAQVI
Cucumis colocynthis Linn.
Perennial trailing herbs with somewhat woody tuberous root. Stems shortly hairy when young becoming scabrid. Tendrils simple, rarely bifid, slender, glabrous. Leaf blade ± elongate-ovate in outline, 10-60 (-110) mm long, 8-55 (-66) mm broad, distinctly scabrid-hairy beneath, smooth except on the nerves above, palmately deeply 3-5-lobed, ultimate lobes pinnately lobulate with central lobe longest, long-ovate in outline; petiolate, petiole rather densely rough-hairy; probracts lanceolate-elliptic, 4-5 mm long and c. l. 5 mm broad, caducous. Male flowers on long pedicels; calyx campanulate, c. 9 (4-8) mm long, lobes c. 5 mm broad; corolla pale yellow, ovate-acute, c. 8 mm long and c. 5 mm broad; female flowers on longer pedicels than male, receptacle-tube short, lobes lanceolate, c. 5 mm long. Ovary hairy, subglobose or obovate. Fruit on long stalk, c. 5 cm in diameter, globose, smooth, longitudinally green striped, 5-7 cm in diameter, eipcarp thin, filled with a dry spongy very bitter pulp. Seeds numerous, ovate-oblong, yellowish brown, not margined, c. 6 mm long and c. 3 mm broad.
Fl. Per.: Jan.-April.
Type: From a plant cultivated at Uppsala, Sweden (LINN, Lecto).
Distribution: Northern Tropical Africa, Atlantic Islands, North-West India, Pakistan and Australia.