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Genus Ecballium Family Cucurbitaceae

Description: Monoecious trailing herbs, fleshy, bristly, perennial with thickened rootstock. Tendrils absent.

Leaves simple. Male flowers in axillary bracteate racemes; female flowers solitary, sometimes co-axillary with males. Hypanthium broadly bell-shaped. Corolla deeply 5-lobed. Stamens 3, anthers 2-locular; disc absent. Female flowers without staminodes. Ovary bristly.

Fruit juicy and highly turgid at maturity, dehiscing actively through ruptured attachment of pedicel.


Distribution and occurrence: World: 1 species, Mediterranean & SW Asia. Australia: 1 species (naturalized).

Text by G. J. Harden
Taxon concept:

One species in NSW: Ecballium elaterium

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