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Cucumis kalahariensis A.Meeuse


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Cucumis kalahariensis

Image 1
Habit
05 Apr 2009

Cucumis kalahariensis

Image 2
Flower
05 Apr 2009

Cucumis kalahariensis

Image 3
Fruit
05 Apr 2009

Cucumis kalahariensis

Image 4
Leaves
05 Apr 2009

Cucumis kalahariensis

Image 5
Leaf
05 Apr 2009



Family: Curcurbitaceae
Full name: Cucumis kalahariensis A.Meeuse
ID status: Fairly certain
Afrikaans common name(s): -
English common name(s): -
Synonym(s): -
Status: Native
Description: Perennial; stems prostrate, to 3 m, sparsely setulose, rooting at nodes, arising from tuberous roots up to 1 m below ground. Leaf-lamina 6.5–12.5 x 3.5–10 cm, ovate or ovate-oblong in outline, finely setulose or hispid above and more densely so beneath, becoming scabrid, deeply palmately (3)5(7)-lobed, lobes elliptic, narrowly oblong-elliptic or lanceolate, obtuse to acute, apiculate, sinuate-dentate or sinuate-lobulate, the central much the largest. Petioles 1–5 cm long, aculeate-setulose, becoming scabrid. Flowers dioecious. male flowers solitary or 2–3 in small fascicles; pedicels 8–10(20) mm long. Receptacle-tube 5–7 mm long; lobes 2.5–5 mm long. Petals 5.5–10 mm long, yellow. female flowers solitary; pedicels (4)8–10 mm long; ovary c. 13 x 5 mm, ellipsoid, densely setose; perianth rather larger than in male flowers, otherwise similar. Fruit 3–5.5 x 2–3 cm, oblong or oblong-ellipsoid, rounded at the ends, densely shortly softly spiny, green or greenish-white, longitudinally variegated with brownish-purple; spines 2–5 mm long, laterally compressed, rather thick; fruit-stalk stout, c. 2 cm long, slightly expanded upwards. Seeds 6–7 x 3–4 x 1.5–2 mm, elliptic in outline, smooth, pallid, subcompressed. (from JSTOR Global Plants website / Flora Zambesiaca)

Plants: Herbs; perennial; with a woody rootstock; tuberous; dioecious. Tubers 30–50 cm under ground; ellipsoid, or obovoid; 8–12 cm long; 1.5–2 cm in diam; glabrous. Stems procumbent; sulcate; not aculeate; short pilose; with nonbreakaway hairs. Stem hairs 0.6–1.2 mm long (soon broken off). Nodes not geniculate. Internodes 2–5 cm long, or 12–22 cm long. Petioles cylindrical; sulcate in cross section.
Leaves: Petioles 0.5–4 cm long; not aculeate; pubescence a single type on each petiole; short pilose (with the hair base enlarged); with nonbreakaway hairs. Leaf blades 3-palmately lobed, or 5-palmately lobed; with the margin serrate; broadly ovate in outline; subcordate at the base to broadly acute at the base; without a basal sinus; acute at the apex to broadly acute at the apex; 4–6.5(–10) cm long; 3–5.5 cm wide; 1.2–1.3(–2) times longer than wide; pilose on the upper surface; not aculeate on the veins below; pilose on the veins below; pilose on the intervenium below; not ciliate on the margins; with nonbreakaway hairs. Central leaf-blade lobe symmetrical; pinnatifid; narrowly elliptic in outline to elliptic in outline; acute at the apex to broadly acute at the apex; 3–5.5(–8) cm long; (0.5–)1–3 cm wide. Lateral leaf-blade lobes symmetrical; entire, or pinnatifid; narrowly oblong in outline; acute at the apex; 0.7–2(–4.5) cm long; 0.5–0.8(–1.5) cm wide.
Tendrils: Present; solitary; simple; 1–2.5(–5) cm long; not aculeate; sparsely short pilose.
Inflorescences: Unisexual.
Male inflorescences: Fasciculate, or a solitary flower; 1–3-flowered; sessile.
Male flowers: Pedicellate. Pedicel terete in cross section; 5–12 mm long; pilose; without bracteoles. Hypanthium infundibular; ca 8 mm long; ca 4 mm in diam; antrorse-strigose. Calyx lobes 5; linear in outline; narrowly acute at the apex; ca 7.2 mm long; ca 0.6 mm wide; sparsely antrorse-strigose. Corolla infundibular; puberulent outside; puberulent inside. Corolla tube ca 2.9 mm long; ca 8 mm in diam; puberulent outside. Corolla lobes elliptic in outline; acute at the apex; 9.6–11.2 mm long; 6.4–8 mm wide; puberulent outside; puberulent inside. Stamens separating from the hypanthium ca 3.2 mm from the base of the hypanthium. Filaments radially compressed in cross section; ca 1.2 mm long; 0.4–0.8 mm wide; glabrous. Anther thecae free; sigmoid; ca 4 mm long; puberulent. Anther connective extended; ovate; unilobate; obtuse at apex; papillate at the apex; 1.6–2 mm long; ca 1 mm wide; glabrous. Disc cylindrical; ca 1 mm long; ca 2.2 mm in diam; glabrous.
Female inflorescences: A solitary flower; 1-¬flowered; sessile.
Female flowers: Pedicellate. Pedicel terete in outline; 4–10 mm long; pilose; with nonbreakaway hairs; cylindrical. Hypanthium hour-glass shaped; not distinctly ridged. The lower 2/3s of hypanthium fused to the ovary. Fused portion of hypanthium ellipsoid; 9.6–11 mm long; 5.6–6.4 mm in diam; not tuberculate; aculeate; glabrous. Aculei soft; 1.6–2.4 mm long. Hyaline bristle at apex of aculeus 0.6–0.9 mm long; ca 0.6 times as long as the opaque base. The upper 1/3 of hypanthium free from the ovary. Free portion of hypanthium campanulate; 4–6.4 mm long; ca 4.8 mm in diam; not aculeate outside; antrorse-strigose outside; puberulent inside. Calyx lobes 5; linear in outline; narrowly acute at the apex; 5.9–6.4 mm long; 0.6–0.8 mm wide; antrorse-strigose. Corolla infundibular; puberulent outside; puberulent inside. Corolla tube present; ca 1.9 mm long; ca 5.6 mm in diam; puberulent outside. Corolla lobes elliptic in outline; acute at the apex; 9.6–11.2 mm long; 4.6–5.4 mm wide; puberulent outside; puberulent inside. Staminodes present; separating from the free portion of the hypanthium ca 2.4 mm above the ovary; papilliform; 0.8–1.6 mm long; 0.3–0.4 mm in diam; puberulent. Style terete in cross section; ca 2.4 mm long; ca 1.1 mm in diam; glabrous; subtended by a circular disc. Disc ca 0.8 mm long; ca 2.8 mm in diam; glabrous. Stigma cupular; ca 3.8 mm long; ca 1.8 mm in diam; lobate; with 5 finger-like projections on the margin. Finger-like stigmatic projections ca 1.2 mm long; ca 0.8 mm in diam; papillate.
Fruit: Not geocarpic, maturing above ground and readily visible. Pedicel terete in cross section; 1–3.5 cm long; pilose; with nonbreakaway hairs; cylindrical. Fruit bicolored with longitudinal stripes from base to apex; greenish white; with purple longitudinal stripes (brownish); ellipsoid, or cylindrical; 3–5.5 cm long; 2–3 cm in diam; with the pericarp moderately to very thick; not tuberculate; aculeate; glabrous; blunt at the apex. Aculei laterally compressed near the base; with hyaline bristle lost; 1.6–2.8 mm long; 0.8–1.2 mm in diam. Bristle ca 0.4 mm long (when present).
Seeds: Yellowish white; elliptic; 5.2–5.6 mm long; 3–3.2 mm wide; ca 1.6 mm thick; glabrous; smooth without evident surface sculpturing; emarginate; unwinged.
Link(s) African Plant Database
JSTOR Plant Science
Kew Herbarium Catalogue
BGBM Berlin-Dahlem - Virtual Herbarium
Züricher Herbarien
iSpot
Flora of Zimbabwe
Fleurs de notre Terre - Galerie Namibie
Tree Atlas of Namibia
Content last updated: 21 Mar 2018


Note: The identification of some of the plants on this website is not 100% certain. Any comments will be highly appreciated. I would also be willing to supply higher resolution images upon request. Please contact me at the e-mail address given below.

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