Citrullus colocynthis

(Linnaeus) Schrader

Linnaea 12: 414. 1838.

Common names: Colocynth bitter apple bitter cucumber vine of Sodom
Introduced
Basionym: Cucumis colocynthis Linnaeus Sp. Pl. 2: 1011. 1753
Synonyms: Colocynthis vulgaris Schrader
Treatment appears in FNA Volume 6. Treatment on page 42. Mentioned on page 41.

Vines perennial. Stems trailing, 50–150 cm, pustulate-scabrous to pustulate-hispid and sparsely hirsute with deflexed hairs; roots fleshy to ± woody, tuberous; tendrils usually unbranched, rarely 2-branched. Leaf-blades elongate-ovate, 1–6 (–11) cm, 3–5 (–7) -lobed, lobes pinnately shallowly lobed or sinuate, margins serrate to dentate, surfaces pustulate-scabrous. Flowers: hypanthium campanulate, 4–8 mm; sepals lanceolate to linearlanceolate, 5 mm; petals obovate-oblong, 6–10 mm. Pepos variegated green and yellow or yellow, green-striped, globose to subglobose, with ± elliptical fissures, 4–7 (–10) cm diam.; rind thin, not durable, mesocarp light yellowish orange to pale-yellow, dry-spongy, intensely bitter. Seeds dark-brown to yellowish orange, ovoid-oblong to ellipsoid, 6 mm. 2n = 22.


Phenology: Flowering Jun–Sep.
Habitat: Peanut fields, pond dikes in cotton fields, fallow fields, waste ground
Elevation: 0–100 m

Distribution

V6 67-distribution-map.jpg

Introduced; Calif., Mass., Tex., Africa, also in Europe, Asia, Pacific Islands, Australia

Discussion

Citrullus colocynthis is a traditional food plant in Africa, where it is grown particularly for its edible seeds, which are bitter but nutty-flavored, rich in fat and protein, and eaten whole or used as an oilseed. It has also been a standard cathartic remedy, mostly in combination with other cathartics.

Three main haplotypes within colocynth have been identified via molecular data (F. Dane and P. Lang 2004; Dane and J. Liu 2007; A. Levi and C. E. Thomas 2005).

Colocynth rarely is encountered outside of cultivation. It has been reported as a weed in Texas peanut fields (G. L. Nesom 2011); in Massachusetts, it has been sporadically collected since 1878; in California, it has been collected on a pond dike in an area of cotton fields in Kern County.

Selected References

None.

Lower Taxa

None.

"thin" is not a number.

... more about "Citrullus colocynthis"
distinct +  and connate +
Guy L. Nesom +
(Linnaeus) Schrader +
Cucumis colocynthis +
6 cm60 mm <br />0.06 m <br /> (11 cm110 mm <br />0.11 m <br />) +
1 cm10 mm <br />0.01 m <br /> (6 cm60 mm <br />0.06 m <br />) +
3-5(-7)-lobed +  and elongate-ovate +
3-5(-7)-lobed;elongate-ovate;lanceolate-ovate or ovate-triangular +
tubular +, saucer--shaped +, campanulate +  and rotate +
Colocynth +, bitter apple +, bitter cucumber +  and vine of Sodom +
Calif. +, Mass. +, Tex. +, Africa +, also in Europe +, Asia +, Pacific Islands +  and Australia +
0–100 m +
furrowed +  and echinate +
dehiscent +  and indehiscent +
bristly +, smooth +, hairy +  and glabrous +
tuberculate +  and muricate +
fleshy +  and hard +
pistillate +  and staminate +
striped +, variegated green and whitish or green and yellow +, yellow +  and green +
Peanut fields, pond dikes in cotton fields, fallow fields, waste ground +
perennial +
dioecious +  and monoecious +
0.4 cm4 mm <br />0.004 m <br /> (0.8 cm8 mm <br />0.008 m <br />) +
solitary +, corymbose +, fasciculate +, racemose +  and paniculate +
petiolate +, estipulate +  and simple +
sinuate;lobed +
serrate +  and dentate +
denticulate +  and dentate +
not differentiated +
orange +  and pale-yellow +
ellipsoid;obovoid or subglobose +
4 cm40 mm <br />0.04 m <br /> (7 cm70 mm <br />0.07 m <br />) +
induplicate-valvate +  and imbricate +
pubescent +  and glabrate +
0.6 cm6 mm <br />0.006 m <br /> (1 cm10 mm <br />0.01 m <br />) +
Flowering Jun–Sep. +
fleshy +  and more or less woody +
not arillate +
ovoid-oblong +  and ellipsoid +
lanceolate +
5 cm50 mm <br />0.05 m <br /> (?) +
Introduced +
climbing +  and procumbent +
sprawling +  and prostrate +
50 cm500 mm <br />0.5 m <br /> (150 cm1,500 mm <br />1.5 m <br />) +
short-columnar +
verrucose +  and smooth +
Colocynthis vulgaris +
Citrullus colocynthis +
Citrullus +
species +
2-branched +  and unbranched +
distinct +