Monoecious or dioecious, climbing or trailing, annual or perennial (not in Victoria) herbs. Tendrils simple. Leaves simple, lamina toothed to deeply palmately lobed. Male and female flowers solitary or in axillary clusters of few flowers. Calyx and corolla 5-lobed; hypanthium campanulate; stamens 3, inserted in middle of hypanthium, connective with expanded appendages, anthers 3, two 2-locular, one 1-locular, locules flexuose; disc gland-like. Female flowers with 3 staminodes; style inserted in annular disc, stigma 3-lobed; ovary pubescent with many ovules. Fruit ellipsoid or globose, indehiscent, fleshy; seeds many, elliptic, compressed, smooth, pale.
About 35 species, mostly in tropical and southern Africa, also in tropical Asia; 9 species native to Australia, 6 naturalized.
Cucumis sativus L. (Cucumber) was collected from Studley Park, Kew, as a garden-escape in 1884. It has not persisted there and does not appear to have become naturalized elsewhere in the State.