Momordica sessilifolia Cogn.

First published in Bull. Herb. Boissier 4: 821 (1896)
This species is accepted
The native range of this species is E. & S. Ethiopia to N. Kenya. It is a tuberous shrub and grows primarily in the desert or dry shrubland biome.

Descriptions

Cucurbitaceae, C. Jeffrey. Flora of Tropical East Africa. 1967

Morphology General Habit
Climber with tuberous woody rootstock.
Morphology Stem
Young stems herbaceous, glabrous; older stems with brownish papery bark, woody, becoming greyish, angular and rough.
Morphology Leaves
Leaves subsessile; blade hastate, rounded and apiculate, wiht the basal lobes rounded, amplexicaul and often overlapping, entire, glabrous, 38–52 mm. long, 10–19 mm. broad; petiole up to 2 mm. long.
Morphology General Tendrils
Tendrils simple.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers
Probably monoecious. Male flowers 1–2 together, apical on a 21–37 mm. long peduncle and subtended by a suborbicular basally cordate 3.5–5 mm. long 9–12 mm. broad bract; pedicels 9–23 mm. long; receptacle-tube broadly campanulate, 3.5–5 mm. long, dark greenish-purple; lobes ovate, acute, 5–7 mm. long, petals orange-yellow, oblong below, expanded, rounded and slightly apiculate above, ± 8–11 mm. long and 5 mm. broad, 2 with scales inside at the base; stamens 2; thecae arcuate. Female flowers sessile in the axil of an orbicular deeply cordate 6–15 mm. long 15–28 mm. broad bract apical on an 8–26 mm. long peduncle; ovary ± 6–10 mm. long and 1 mm. broad, narrowly fusiform-cylindrical, slightly constricted about one-third of its length from the base.
sex Male
Male flowers 1–2 together, apical on a 21–37 mm. long peduncle and subtended by a suborbicular basally cordate 3.5–5 mm. long 9–12 mm. broad bract; pedicels 9–23 mm. long; receptacle-tube broadly campanulate, 3.5–5 mm. long, dark greenish-purple; lobes ovate, acute, 5–7 mm. long, petals orange-yellow, oblong below, expanded, rounded and slightly apiculate above, ± 8–11 mm. long and 5 mm. broad, 2 with scales inside at the base; stamens 2; thecae arcuate.
sex Female
Female flowers sessile in the axil of an orbicular deeply cordate 6–15 mm. long 15–28 mm. broad bract apical on an 8–26 mm. long peduncle; ovary ± 6–10 mm. long and 1 mm. broad, narrowly fusiform-cylindrical, slightly constricted about one-third of its length from the base.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Fruits
Fruit 17–22 mm. long, 1.5–3.5 mm. across, dry when mature, subterete, slightly constricted at about one-third of its length from the base, basally 1-seeded.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Seeds
Seed ± 10 × 2 × 2 mm.; testa smooth.
Habitat
Semi-desert bushland and grassland; 760–980 m.
Distribution
K1
[FTEA]

M. Thulin et al. Flora of Somalia, Vol. 1-4 [updated 2008] https://plants.jstor.org/collection/FLOS

Morphology General Habit
Scandent or decumbent softly woody shrub; rootstock tuberous; main stem up to 30 cm thick, rough-barked, branches slender
Morphology Leaves
Leaf-blade ovate or ovate-lanceolate, hastate, amplexicaul, entire or angled, somewhat succulent, glabrous, glaucous, 3.8–7.5 x 1–3.5 cm; petiole up to 2 mm long Leaves simple, subsessile
Morphology General Tendrils
Tendrils simple
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences
Male flowers solitary or paired Monoecious
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Pedicel
Pedicels 9–23 mm long
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Calyx
Sepals ovate, acute, 5–12 mm long Sepals lanceolate, acute, c. 4 mm long
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Corolla
Petals orange-yellow, obovate-oblong, 8–11 mm long Petals unknown
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers
Female flowers solitary
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences Peduncles
Peduncle 8–26 mm long, apically bracteate Peduncle 2–3.7 cm long, apically bracteate
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences Bracts
Bract like that of male flowers, rather larger, 6–15 x 15–30 mm Bract circular, sessile, amplexicaul, 3.5–8 x 9–13 mm
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Gynoecium Ovary
Ovary subsessile, 6–10 mm long, slightly constricted about 1/3 of its length from the base
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Hypanthium
Hypanthium short, c. 0.5 mm long Hypanthium broadly campanulate, dark greenish-purple, 3–5 mm long
Morphology Reproductive morphology Fruits
Fruit 17–22 x 1.5–3.5 mm, dry, slightly ridged, slightly constricted about 1/3 of its length from the base, the upper part slender, deciduous, the lower part persistent, 1-seeded
Morphology Reproductive morphology Seeds
Seed about 10 x 2 x 2 mm, smooth.
Distribution
N1–3; C1, 2; E Ethiopia, N Kenya
Ecology
Altitude range 150–1000 m.
Vernacular
Gasangas (Somali).
[FSOM]

Uses

Use
Soap is made from the pounded root.
[FSOM]

Sources

  • Flora of Somalia

    • Flora of Somalia
    • http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0
  • Flora of Tropical East Africa

    • Flora of Tropical East Africa
    • http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0
  • Herbarium Catalogue Specimens

    • Digital Image © Board of Trustees, RBG Kew http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/
  • Kew Backbone Distributions

    • The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Vascular Plants 2023. Published on the Internet at http://www.ipni.org and https://powo.science.kew.org/
    • © Copyright 2023 World Checklist of Vascular Plants. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0
  • Kew Names and Taxonomic Backbone

    • The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Vascular Plants 2023. Published on the Internet at http://www.ipni.org and https://powo.science.kew.org/
    • © Copyright 2023 International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Vascular Plants. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0