Description from Flora of China
Herbs, annual or perennial, or weak, woody shrubs with watery sap, scandent or prostrate. Roots fibrous or tuberous. Stem often angular. Leaves alternate, undivided or variously palmately or pedately divided, often cordate; tendrils solitary, lateral, simple or branched, spirally twisted, rarely absent; stipules absent. Plants monoecious or dioecious; flowers unisexual, very rarely bisexual; flowers paniculate, racemose, or subumbellate, rarely solitary. Calyx tube (hypanthium) adnate to ovary; tube rotate, campanulate, or saucer-shaped, usually 5-lobed; segments imbricate. Corolla usually sympetalous, inserted on calyx tube; segments valvate or involute. Stamens inserted at base or mouth of calyx tube, usually 5 or 3, of which one often 1-celled and other two 2-celled; filaments separate or variously united into a column; anthers separate or coherent into a head; anther cells straight to conduplicate, extrorse; rudimentary ovary often present in male flowers; staminodes often in female flowers. Ovary inferior or nearly completely so, mostly composed of 3 carpels, 3-locular, rarely 1- or 2- or spuriously 4-6-locular; ovules usually numerous, rarely few or solitary, horizontal, pendulous, or ascending, often immersed in pulp; placentas parietal, fleshy, often confluent at middle of ovary; style terminal, simple or branched at apex or styles free; stigma enlarged or 2-fid. Fruit usually a fleshy berry or corky, indehiscent or rarely opening by valves or by an operculum, rarely fibrous. Seeds often numerous, rarely few or solitary, horizontal, pendulous, or ascending, often compressed, rarely winged; endosperm absent; embryo with leaflike cotyledons and short radicle.
Lu An-ming & Zhang Zhi-yun. 1986. Cucurbitaceae. In: Lu An-ming & Chen Shu-kun, eds., Fl. Reipubl. Popularis Sin. 73(1): 84-280.
About 123 genera and over 800 species: most in tropics and subtropics, very rare in temperate regions; 35 genera (one endemic, nine introduced) and 151 species (73 endemic, 14 introduced) in China.
(Authors: Lu Anmin (路安民 Lu An-ming), Huang Luqi (黄璐琦), Chen Shukun (陈书坤); Charles Jeffrey)