Scarlet Gourd Overview
Genus with around 31 dioecious plants with tuberous roots and either climbing or prostrate growth habits. Prostrate growth is where plants grow along the ground surface, rather than in an erect habit with their branches held up to the sky. Foliage is broadly heart-shaped, with between 3-5 lobes which are usually toothed along the edges. Plants in this genus possess tendrils, these are specalised stems, leaves or leaf stalks that are used to attach and support the climbing plants growth. In this genus the tendrils may be divided into 2 parts, termed bifid. This genus is termed dioecious as it produces unisexual flowers, containing either male or female reproductive organs. These gendered flowers are produced on individual plants. Male flowers are produced individually or in clusters on unbranched inflorescences called racemes. Female flowers are produced solitarily. Flowers are trumpet to bell-shaped, with 5 spreading petals coloured yellow or cream, sometimes pure white or tinged with pink. Flowers lead onto edible berry fruits, these are spherical to cylindrical in shape and measure between 1-30cm long and 1-6cm wide. They are green, maturing to a red colour and may show white mottling across their length, similar to the markings of watermelons, genus Citrullus.