Nothoalsomitra suberosa (CUCURBITACEAE); Corky Cucumber

Image: Habit - foliage and inflorescence
Image: Flower detail

Image: Habit - foliage and inflorescence

Photo: Derek Boddington 2005
Slender dioecious twiner to about 3m with distinctive corky flanges or scales at the base of older stems. Known to occur in subtropical rainforest and its margins as well as in wet sclerophyll forest, this is a monotypic genus endemic to Australia.

Leaves compound, pinnate, 3-foliate; petioles up to 5cm long. leaflets elliptic to lanceolate, 3-10cm long x 2-4cm wide, soft, margins very shallowly toothed or entire, moderately glossy mid-green above and below; bases of the two lateral leaflets markedly oblique, each with a pronounced lobe on the outer margin, lobes sometimes bluntly pointed; central or terminal leaflet usually longer than lateral leaflets, apex acuminate, base evenly rounded; venation pinnate, level with the surface above, raised slightly on the underside.

Tendrils arising singly from leaf nodes and often branching. Stems 5-angled or channelled.

Image: Flower detailBack to top

Flower creamy-white to yellow, corolla expanding to 5 broadly pointed or rounded lobes 1-1.5cm across; arranged in clusters of 4-6 in branched, axillary panicles.

Flowering in spring.

Fruit a fleshy, globose gourd up to 12cm long with mildly aromatic flesh.

NCA status is listed as rare throughout most of its range. This specimen recorded and photographed at Maiala NP, Mt. Glorious, October 2005.

Nothoalsomitra - from the greek word notho meaning false and the genus Alsomitra, a climbing gourd native to the Sunda Islands of the Malay Archipelago; suberosa - having cork-like features.