Bur Cucumber
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Bur Cucumber
A Introduced Photo: Anil Thakur
Common name: Bur Cucumber, One-seeded burr-cucumber
Botanical name: Sicyos angulatus    Family: Cucurbitaceae (Pumpkin family)
Synonyms: Elaterium trifoliatum

Bur Cucumber is an annual vine that produces long branching stems that climb over shrubs and fences or trail across the ground. The stems are hairy, pale green and furrowed. The alternate leaves have 3-5 palmate lobes and can be 20 cm across. The leaf-stalk is thick and hairy, and about 13 cm long. The flowers are monoecious, with separate male and female blooms. The male flowers are in long-stemmed racemes. Each flower is about 1 cm wide, with a calyx with five pointed teeth, a whitish, green-veined flower with five lobes, and a central boss of stamens. The small female flowers are bunched together on a short stalk, each having its ovary enclosed in a spiny, hairy fruit; one seed is produced by each flower. The fruit is about 1.3 cm long, green at first but becomes brown with age; it is dispersed by animals which come into contact with its bristly surface. Bur Cucumber is native to North America, cultivated elsewhere.

Identification credit: Anil Thakur Photographed in Shimla, Himachal Pradesh.

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