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Squashes, Gourds and Pumpkins Print E-mail
Written by ECHO   
Friday, 13 January 2006


As a general rule, cucurbitaceous plants prefer dry climates, and many are so riddled with disease in the humid tropics that production is impossible.  When there is a pronounced dry season it is often possible to grow the vines and produce fruit.

Available varieties 

Wax Gourd | Buffalo Gourd | Seminole Pumpkin | Summer Squash | Pepino de Comer | Calabash | Luffa

Benincasa hispida                                                                Elevation: 0-1500

Wax Gourd/Wintermelon                                                                    MS, LL, RF, H

Best cucurbit for seed oil in hot, humid tropics; flesh eaten like summer squash; fruit may be stored for many months at room temperature. It can be grown year round in tropical climates. Frost sensitive. Soil pH: 5.0-7.5

Cucurbita foetidissima                                                        Elevation: Sea Level

Buffalo Gourd                                                                                      SA, MS, LL, T

Roots are used as a firewood The seed is rich in oil and protein; requires long periods of warm, dry weather; American Indians used fruit, pulp, and vine for soap. However the vine has a foul smell! The crushed seeds yield a polyunsaturated oil, and the pulp is fed to cattle. Requires little water. Native to SW North America. Soil pH: 5.0-7.5.


Cucurbita moschata                                                            Elevation: 0-2600m

Seminole Pumpkin                                                                               SA, MS, LL, T, H

Seminole: Vigorous vines (up to 3 m), native to Florida, smaller fruits. The vines will grow widely spreading along the surface of the ground, rooting at nodes, or they may be trellised. The flesh can be baked, fried, boiled, mashed, dried, and used in pies. Seeds can be roasted and eaten. Fruits fed as forage for cattle. Soil pH: 4.5-8.3.

Acorn: 90 days; small acorn shaped fruit; pale orange outside with dark orange flesh.

Crookneck: 90 days; large number of oblong pumpkins; light orange with orange flesh.

Ingram Billie: 90 days; large number of small pumpkins; variable fruit size; hardy performer.

Hardy: 90 days; produces a large number of pumpkins; oblong in shape; orange skin with orange flesh.

Seminole Tropical Mix: A mix of all Seminole pumpkin varieties currently in the seed bank.


Cucurbita moschata                                                                Elevation: 0-2400m

Tropical Pumpkin/Calabaza                                                                SA ,MS, LL, T, H

These pumpkins originated in tropical South or Central America. This crop is similar to Seminole pumpkin in how it is cultivated and processed for food. Soil pH: 4.5-8.3.

La Primera: 110 days; large round fruits; commercial cultivar in Florida; orange skin with light orange flesh.

Tahitian Butternut: 110 days; large necked fruit; orange skin with dark orange flesh.

Tropical Pumpkin Mix: A mix of the above two varieties.


Cucurbita pepo                                                                      Elevation: 0-1000m

Summer Squash                                                                                 SA, MS, T, H

A warm-season crop that should be planted when danger of frost is past. Best soil temperature for growth is 85 F. Performs best in well-drained, sandy loam soils with high organic matter. Waterlogged soils promote disease. Excess humidity and rain can also be prime conditions for fungus diseases to develop on the vine. Squash is usually harvested immature and flesh is cooked or stir-fried. In arid regions irrigation should be established. Soil pH: 4.5-8.3

Gentry: About 43 days to maturity; squash deep golden yellow in color and reaches 5.5-6 inches in length and is semi-crookneck shape; plant is open, vigorous bush. Consistent yields of smooth skinned fruit. Hybrid.

Spineless Beauty: A hybrid zucchini squash that takes about 43 days to reach maturity. Fruit color is medium green and cylindrical fruits reach 7.5-8.5 inches in length. Open habit growth w/ spineless petioles. Continous setting with high yields.


Cyclanthera pedata                                                                Elevation: 0-2000m

Achoccha/Pepino de Comer, Caygua                                                MS, H, T

Andean fruits similar to a hollow cucumber; may be stuffed before cooking or pickling. A gourd-like vegetable, 6-15cm long. The immature fruits and young shoots are eaten raw and cooked. Requires trellising. Relatively cold tolerant.

Lagenaria siceraria                                                                Elevation: 0-2700m

Calabash Gourd                                                                            SA, MS, LL, H, T, RF

Can be used as containers/vessels; fruits edible only when small; leaves and young shoots used as potherbs; seed yields an oil used in cooking; vegetable curd can be made from the seed; very prolific in subtropics. Immature fruits (before rinds harden) can be picked and prepared like summer squash. Tolerates heat and humidity better then most cucurbits. Soil pH: 4.5-7.5.

Longissima: Cucuzzi, Bottle Gourd, Bushel Gourd


Luffa spp.                                                                                Elevation: 0-1000m

Luffa sponge                                                                                        MS, LL, T, RF, H

Vigorous climbing vine; fruit also used as sponge; seed is toxic. Well adapted to warm dry tropics, but can be grown in wet tropics. The vines are frost sensitive. The sponges from these gourds are popular in the cosmetic industry. Both acutangula and cylindrica will cross pollinate with if within 1500 feet of each other.

Luffa acutangula - Angled/Ridged Luffa: Preferred as vegetable; ridged fruit eaten when young.

L. cylindrica - Smooth Luffa: Preferred for making sponges; smooth fruit; edible when young.

Last Updated ( Thursday, 08 February 2007 )
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