The Melon or Gourd Family

There are about 188 genera and 845 species of plants in this family. It includes those things we call gourds, melons, squashes and pumpkins in the garden. Most are prostrate growers or herbaceous vines with either an annual or perennial life cycle. They come from tropical and subtropical areas of the world and are generally intolerant of cold temperatures and soils.

Squirting Cucumber
Wild Cucumber
Jungle Cucumber
Bitter Melon
Sponge Gourd

Note on Taxonomy - Plant taxonomy is the art and science of classifying plants into groupings in order to help people make sense of the huge diversity found in the world. The people who do this for a living are called taxonomists. They are continually evaluating and re-evaluating how plants are classified. For example, with the recent emergence of DNA analysis, many plants have been changing classification.

Also, there is no one, single universal classification system for plants. Rather, there is a lot of debate among taxonomists which may lead to confusion for the average gardener. That is why, in these family listings, you often see the words "about" or "around" when counting the number of genera or species to include. It is also why new families are created and some of the old ones suddenly fade away. So, don't be surprised if you find slightly different information at other sites or sources. Oh, well.


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