Citrullus colocynthis (L.) Schrad.


Linnaea 12: 414 (1838) APNI

Taxonomic status:Accepted

Occurrence status:Present

Establishment means:Naturalised

Perennial, trailing herb with tuberous rootstock and scabrous stems. Leaf-lamina 2–4 cm long, 1.5–3 cm wide, palmately to bipinnately 5–9-lobed, the lobes c. ovate, usually pinnately lobulate, scabrous and hairy below, coarsely scabrous above; petiole 1.5–3.5 cm long, scabrous; tendrils simple or 2-branched. Male flowers on pedicels 1–2 cm long; petals 6–8 mm long, greenish-yellow. Female flowers on pedicels 1–4 cm long; petals 6–10 mm long, yellow. Fruit 5–12 cm diam., globose, green mottled with yellow or yellow stripes or all yellow; seeds 5–9 mm long, dull yellowish-brown, smooth. Flowers ?Mar.–May.

*CVU, *MuM, *MSB, *VRiv, *Wim. Naturalized all mainland States. Native to northern Africa and south-west Asia. An uncommon weed of disturbed areas in the far north-west (e.g. Hattah Lakes, Robinvale area).

A number of specimens of C. lanatus tend to grade towards C. colocynthis, especially in the degree of scabrosity of the upper surface of the leaf. However, the margin differences, and seed size and markings, can readily separate these 2 species. Jeffrey (1980) notes that hybrids are known to occur between these species.

Source: Jobson, P.C. (1996). Cucurbitaceae. In: Walsh, N.G.; Entwisle, T.J. (eds), Flora of Victoria Vol. 3, Dicotyledons Winteraceae to Myrtaceae. Inkata Press, Melbourne.
Hero image
Distribution map
life Life
kingdom Plantae
phylum Tracheophyta
superorder Rosanae
order Cucurbitales
family Cucurbitaceae
genus Citrullus
Higher taxa


Source: AVH (2014). Australia's Virtual Herbarium, Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria, <>. Find Citrullus colocynthis in AVH ; Victorian Biodiversity Atlas, © The State of Victoria, Department of Environment and Primary Industries (published Dec. 2014) Find Citrullus colocynthis in Victorian Biodiversity Atlas
  Bioregion Occurrence status Establishment means
Murray Mallee present introduced
Wimmera present naturalised
Victorian Riverina present naturalised
Murray Scroll Belt present naturalised
Central Victorian Uplands present naturalised

State distribution

Distribution map
Western Australia
Northern Territory
South Australia
New South Wales