Wild Gourd
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Wild Gourd
P Native Photo: Tabish
Common name: Wild Gourd, Wild Cucumber • Rajasthani: Khad-Kachar • Urdu: Kharchvit, Kharindroyan
Botanical name: Cucumis prophetarum    Family: Cucurbitaceae (Pumpkin family)
Synonyms: Cucumis mascatensis, Cucumis amarus, Cucumis foetidus

Wild Gourd is a prostrate or climbing perennial herb, with stem slender, grooved, bristly and rough, hairs whitish. Tendrils are simple and short, rough. Leaves are ovate-round, 2-4 cm long, heart-shaped-flat at base, 3-5-lobed, lobes blunt or somewhat pointed, margin toothed or lobulate, bristly-rough on both surfaces; leaf-stalk 1-4 cm long, densely rough with white hairs. Male flowers are borne in fascicles of 2-3 flowers, rarely solitary; flower-cluster-stalk 5-10 mm long, bristly. Calyx-tube is 3-5 mm long, bristly, lobes linear, spreading, about 1.5 mm long. Flowers are hairy, 3-5 mm long, lobes ovate-oblong, with a short sharp point. Anthers are oblong 2-5 mm long. Female flowers arise singly, flower-cluster-stalk 2-3 cm long, calyx and flower as in male. Ovary is studded with short rough points. Fruit is ovoid or nearly spherical, finely velvet-hairy, softly bristly, longitudinally striped green and white, yellow when ripe, 3-4 x 2-3 cm. Wild Gourd is paleotropic in distribution, throughout North Africa, Arabia to India and Pakistan.

Identification credit: Tabish Photographed in IIT Campus, Jodhpur, Rajasthan.

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