A family of a few shrubby members, but mostly of tendril-climbing herbs with weak, sappy stems and palmate leaves. The tendrils are coiled spirally, and arise beside the leaf bases. The flowers are unisexual, often dioecious, with five petals often joined below. The fruits are berries, often very large. There are many important food plants, e.g. Cucumis melo (melon), C. sativus (cucumber), Cucurbita pepo (gourd), marrows, pumpkins, and squashes. There are 121 genera, with 735 species, most of which are tropical or subtropical.
Subjects: Plant Sciences and Forestry.