Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Cucumis melo L.

Herb (herbaceous or woody, under 1 m tall)
Slender Vine
Click/tap on images to enlarge
Leaves and flower. © K.R. McDonald
Fruit. © G. Sankowsky
Fruit. © G. Sankowsky
Fruit. © G. Sankowsky
Herbarium sheet. © Australian Tropical Herbarium
Herbarium sheet: leaves and mature fruit. © Australian Tropical Herbarium

Linnaeus, C. (1753) Species Plantarum 2: 1011. Type: Sweden: Plant cultivated at Uppsala (lectotype: LINN, sheet number 1152.8).

Common name

Wild Cucumber; Ulcardo Melon; Paddymelon; Melon, Ulcardo; Cucumber, Wild


 A slender trailing or climbing annual herb, most parts hispid; stems ribbed, to 3 m long x 2.6 mm diameter. Tendrils simple unbranched, +/- leaf-opposed, straight for some distance and then tightly coiled, to 9 cm long.


Leaf blades ovate in outline, unlobed or palmately 3-5 lobed, ca. 2.4-7.8 x 1.8-7.4 cm, petioles to 15-80 mm long. Both the upper and lower leaf blade surfaces clothed in hairs.


Inflorescences unisexual. Male flowers: borne in fascicles of (1-)3-5 flowers; pedicels 3-13 mm; calyx tube (hypanthium) about 3.5-4.3 mm long; calyx lobes linear to narrowly triangular, about 2-4 mm long; corolla lobes ovate to elliptic, 8-12 mm x 4-6 mm; stamens 3, two stamens with 2-locular anthers and one stamen with a unilocular anther; stamens inserted towards base of hypanthium tube. Female flowers: solitary; pedicels 2.8-13 mm; ovary ca. 5-8 mm long, hairy; disk shortly cylindrical.


Fruits ellipsoidal, about 20-36 x 14-24 mm, with short recurved hairs; pedicels to 14 mm long; seeds 4.2-5 x 2-27 mm, elliptic. Testa smooth.


Features not available.

Distribution and Ecology

Occurs in WA, NT, CYP, NEQ and CEQ, widespread across tropical and subtropical areas of Australia. Altitudinal range in northern Australia from near sea level to 820 m. Grows in a variety of habitats on heavy soil, often in grassy woodlands, but also in deciduous vine thickets. Widespread outside of Australia.

Cucumis melo subsp. agrestis (Naudin) PangaloLa Turquie Agricole: 534 (1933).  Cucumis melo var. agrestis Naudin, Annales des Sciences Naturelles: 73 (1859), Type: (not cited).
RFK Code


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