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American Journal of Plant Biology. They are native in most countries of the world, especially in the tropics, where they are cultivated in every country, state, and province. The Cucurbitaceae consists of many important food plants such as melon, pumpkin, squash, cucumber; useful plants for the production of items of utility such as bottle gourds, loofah, ornamental gourds, etc.
Some species, example, bitter melon, cucumber, musk melon, etc are considered to have medicinal properties due to the presence of cucurbitacins, etc. Others such as Luffa, Cucurbita, etc are used as complementary dietary ingredient of feed for poultry and increasingly as a protein and vitamin supplement to aqua feeds.
Members of this family such as Momordica, Cucurbita, Cucumis etc are also used as remedies for livestock. In addition, seed oil of melon is a source of biodiesel.
This article briefly reviews the nutritional, medicinal, ethnoveterinary and ethnomedicinal value of these plants, as well as their uses as items of utility, complementary dietary ingredient for poultry and aquafeed and as a source of biodiesel. This is an attempt to compile and document information on the different uses of these plants and to recommend that increased in production of these plants will be profitable and will contribute to food security and livelihood sustainability in Nigeria.
Introduction 2. Cucurbits as Food Plants 3. Cucurbits for Ethnomedicinal Purposes 4. Cucurbits as Items of Utility and Cosmetics 5. Cucurbits of Ethnoveterinary Importance 7. Cucurbits for the Production of Biodiesel 8. Conclusion References 1. Introduction The family Cucurbitaceae is an interesting and an unusual family of dicotyledons. It is a medium sized family consisting of about genera and more than species distributed predominantly in the tropical and subtropical regions of the New and Old world [ 1 ].