Asian Zehneria
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Asian Zehneria
P Native Photo: Dinesh Valke
Common name: Asian Zehneria, Emile Bodinieri Zehneria, Wild Cucumber • Manipuri: ꯂꯝ ꯊꯕꯤ লম থবী Lam thabi • Marathi: चिरटी chirati • Tamil: Naai pagal
Botanical name: Zehneria bodinieri    Family: Cucurbitaceae (Pumpkin family)
Synonyms: Melothria bodinieri, Pilogyne bodinieri

Asian Zehneria is a climbing plant, named for Emile Marie Bodinieri, 19th century French missionary in China who collected plants. Stem and branches are slender, grooved-angular, hairless or sparsely velvet-hairy. Leaf-stalks are slender, 2-5 cm, hairless; leaf blade broadly ovate or rarely triangular-ovate, 4-12 x 3-10 cm, membranous, below nearly hairless, above scabrous, basal sinus semicircular, rarely nearly flat, margin wavy-finely toothed, undivided or sometimes shortly 3-5-lobed, tip pointed or shortly tapering. Tendrils are thread-like, simple, hairless. Male flowers are often 3-9 in a head-like or cymose inflorescence; flower-cluster-stalk slender, 1-4 cm, hairless; flower-stalks 1-4 mm; sepal-cup tube bell-shaped, 2-3 × 1-2 mm, hairless or finely velvet-hairy; segments narrowly triangular, about 0.5 mm; flower white; segments ovate or ovate-oblong, 2-2.5 mm, below finely velvet-hairy, tip subpointed; stamens two 2-celled, one 1-celled, sometimes all 2-celled, inserted at base of sepal-cup tube; filaments about 2 mm, finely velvet-hairy; anthers ovoid, 0.6-0.7 mm. Female flowers solitary, rarely a few in an umbel; ovary ovoid. Fruiting flower-stalks are slender, 0.5-1 cm, hairless; fruit red when ripe, baccate, spherical, 1-1.4 cm in diameter, smooth. Asian Zehneria is found in India to S. China and Philippines. Flowering: April-August.

Identification credit: Mayank Dhar Dwivedi Photographed at Kas Plateau, Satara, Maharashtra.

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