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PhytoKeys. 2013 Mar 11;(20):53-118. doi: 10.3897/phytokeys.20.3948. Print 2013.

The Cucurbitaceae of India: Accepted names, synonyms, geographic distribution, and information on images and DNA sequences.

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  • 1Systematic Botany and Mycology, University of Munich, Menzingerstr. 67, 80638 Munich, Germany.


The most recent critical checklists of the Cucurbitaceae of India are 30 years old. Since then, botanical exploration, online availability of specimen images and taxonomic literature, and molecular-phylogenetic studies have led to modified taxon boundaries and geographic ranges. We present a checklist of the Cucurbitaceae of India that treats 400 relevant names and provides information on the collecting locations and herbaria for all types. We accept 94 species (10 of them endemic) in 31 genera. For accepted species, we provide their geographic distribution inside and outside India, links to online images of herbarium or living specimens, and information on publicly available DNA sequences to highlight gaps in the current understanding of Indian cucurbit diversity. Of the 94 species, 79% have DNA sequences in GenBank, albeit rarely from Indian material. The most species-rich genera are Trichosanthes with 22 species, Cucumis with 11 (all but two wild), Momordica with 8, and Zehneria with 5. From an evolutionary point of view, India is of special interest because it harbors a wide range of lineages, many of them relatively old and phylogenetically isolated. Phytogeographically, the north eastern and peninsular regions are richest in species, while the Jammu Kashmir and Himachal regions have few Cucurbitaceae. Our checklist probably underestimates the true diversity of Indian Cucurbitaceae, but should help focus efforts towards the least known species and regions.


Conservation; Cucumis wild species; Cucurbitaceae tribal classification; India’s phytogeographic regions; Trichosanthes; revised generic boundaries

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