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For other meanings, see Zanonia (disambiguation).
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Rosids
Order: Cucurbitales
Family: Cucurbitaceae
Subfamily: Zanonioideae
Tribe: Zanonieae
Subtribe: Zanoniinae
Genus: Zanonia
Species: Z. indica
Binomial name
Zanonia indica

Zanonia is a monotypic genus in the flowering plant family Cucurbitaceae (the cucumber, squash, and pumpkin family).

The only species is Zanonia indica, a medium-sized liana found in the Indian Subcontinent and Southeast Asia east to New Guinea. It has a number of subspecies.[1]

Seed propagation[edit]

The Zanonia seed has an unusual method of propagation. Two leaf-like growths extend either side of the seed to form a flat wing-like shape with the seed embedded along one long edge, which becomes the leading edge in flight, and the wings angled slightly back from it. As the seed ripens the wings dry and their rear edges curl slightly upwards. When ripe, the seed drops off and its aerodynamic form allows it to glide smoothly away from the tree to some distance away.[2]

The seed's natural stability in flight inspired several pioneers of early aviation including Handley Page, Igo Etrich, John William Dunne and José Weiss.[2]


  1. ^ Diversity in Zanonia Indica (Cucurbitaceae)
  2. ^ a b Walker, P.; "Early Aviation at Farnborough, Volume II: The First Aeroplanes", Macdonald (1974), Pages 174-175.

External links[edit]