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Uses

Toxic parts

The sprouting seed produces a toxic substance in its embryo[1].

Edible uses

Notes

Fruit - cooked[2][3][4][5]. Best used when young, at that stage it can be used like a cucumber. The mature fruits are sometimes boiled and eaten[6][7]. A confection is made from the flesh by boiling it with crude sugar[6]. The mature fruit can be stored for 2 years or more and becomes sweeter with storage[8]. The fruit is up to 35cm in diameter[8].

Seed - raw[9][10][11]. Rich in oil with a nutty flavour but very fiddly to use because the seed is small and covered with a fibrous coat[K]. The seed is delicious when roasted and eaten like peanuts[6][7].

An edible oil is obtained from the seed. It is rich in oleic acid[7].

Fruit

Unknown part

Oil

Material uses

The shell of the mature fruit is very hard and it can be used as a container[10].

Unknown part

Medicinal uses(Warning!)

The seeds are vermifuge[12][13]. The complete seed, together with the husk, is used. This is ground into a fine flour, then made into an emulsion with water and eaten. It is then necessary to take a purgative afterwards in order to expel the tapeworms or other parasites from the body[12]. As a remedy for internal parasites, the seeds are less potent than the root of Dryopteris felix-mas, but they are safer for pregnant women, debilitated patients and children[14].

Unknown part

Ecology

Ecosystem niche/layer

Climber

Ecological Functions

Nothing listed.

Forage

Nothing listed.

Shelter

Nothing listed.

Propagation

Seed - sow early to mid spring in a greenhouse in a rich soil. Germination should take place within 2 weeks. Sow 2 or 3 seeds per pot and thin out to the best plant. Grow them on fast and plant out after the last expected frosts, giving them cloche or frame protection for at least their first few weeks if you are trying them outdoors.

Practical Plants is currently lacking information on propagation instructions of Cucurbita ficifolia. Help us fill in the blanks! Edit this page to add your knowledge.



Cultivation

Requires a rich, well-drained moisture retentive soil and a very warm, sunny and sheltered position[15]. Tolerates poor, wet and badly drained soils according to another report[11].

Plants are not very frost-tolerant, they can be grown as an annual in temperate climates, and are sometimes cultivated for their edible fruit in warmer areas of the world[16][10]. A very vigorous plant, it can produce shoots 25 metres long in 1 year from seed in Britain[10]. This is the hardiest member of the genus but its fruits are coarse and stringy when grown in Britain so it is usually grown as an ornamental plant only[10]. Plants are day-length sensitive, flowering only in late summer and autumn[7]. This species does not hybridize naturally with other members of the genus though crosses have been made under controlled conditions[10][17].

In America it takes 3 months from seed to first harvest and 6 months to obtain mature fruit[11]. The average fruit size is 9 kilos and this contains 2 cups of seed[11].

Crops

Problems, pests & diseases

Associations & Interactions

There are no interactions listed for Cucurbita ficifolia. Do you know of an interaction that should be listed here? edit this page to add it.

Polycultures & Guilds

There are no polycultures listed which include Cucurbita ficifolia.

Descendants

Cultivars

Varieties

None listed.

Subspecies

None listed.

Full Data

This table shows all the data stored for this plant.

Taxonomy
Binomial name
Cucurbita ficifolia
Genus
Cucurbita
Family
Cucurbitaceae
Imported References
Medicinal uses
Material uses & Functions
Botanic
Propagation
Cultivation
Environment
Cultivation
Uses
Edible uses
None listed.
Material uses
None listed.
Medicinal uses
None listed.
Functions & Nature
Functions
Provides forage for
Provides shelter for
Environment
Hardiness Zone
10
Heat Zone
?
Water
high
Sun
full sun
Shade
light shade
Soil PH
Soil Texture
Soil Water Retention
Environmental Tolerances
    Ecosystems
    Native Climate Zones
    None listed.
    Adapted Climate Zones
    None listed.
    Native Geographical Range
    None listed.
    Native Environment
    None listed.
    Ecosystem Niche
    Root Zone Tendancy
    None listed.
    Life
    Deciduous or Evergreen
    ?
    Herbaceous or Woody
    Life Cycle
    Growth Rate
    Mature Size
    x meters
    Fertility
    Pollinators
    Flower Colour
    ?
    Flower Type

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    References

    1. ? Frohne. D. and Pf?nder. J. A Colour Atlas of Poisonous Plants. Wolfe ISBN 0723408394 (1984-00-00)
    2. ? 2.02.1 Sholto-Douglas. J. Alternative Foods. ()
    3. ? 3.03.1 Uphof. J. C. Th. Dictionary of Economic Plants. Weinheim (1959-00-00)
    4. ? 4.04.1 Usher. G. A Dictionary of Plants Used by Man. Constable ISBN 0094579202 (1974-00-00)
    5. ? 5.05.1 Towle. M. A. The Ethno-Botany of Pre-Columbian Peru. ()
    6. ? 6.06.16.26.3 Facciola. S. Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants. Kampong Publications ISBN 0-9628087-0-9 (1990-00-00)
    7. ? 7.07.17.27.37.4 Popenoe. H. et al Lost Crops of the Incas National Academy Press ISBN 0-309-04264-X (1990-00-00)
    8. ? 8.08.18.28.3 Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992. MacMillan Press ISBN 0-333-47494-5 (1992-00-00)
    9. ? 9.09.1 Schery. R. W. Plants for Man. ()
    10. ? 10.010.110.210.310.410.510.610.7 Organ. J. Gourds. Faber (1963-00-00)
    11. ? 11.011.111.211.311.4 Natural Food Institute, Wonder Crops. 1987. ()
    12. ? 12.012.112.2 Chiej. R. Encyclopaedia of Medicinal Plants. MacDonald ISBN 0-356-10541-5 (1984-00-00)
    13. ? 13.013.1 RHS. The Garden. Volume 112. Royal Horticultural Society (1987-00-00)
    14. ? 14.014.1 Bown. D. Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses. Dorling Kindersley, London. ISBN 0-7513-020-31 (1995-00-00)
    15. ? F. Chittendon. RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956 Oxford University Press (1951-00-00)
    16. ? ? Flora Europaea Cambridge University Press (1964-00-00)
    17. ? ? The Plantsman. Vol.8. 1986 - 1987. Royal Horticultural Society (1986-00-00)

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