The sprouting seed produces a toxic substance in its embryo.
Raw, Cooked, Dried as a Vegetable
The seed contains 34 - 54% of a semi-drying oil. Used for lighting.
The pumpkin has been much used as a medicine in Central and North America. It is a gentle and safe remedy for a number of complaints, especially as an effective tapeworm remover for children and pregnant women for whom stronger acting and toxic remedies are unsuitable. The seeds are mildly diuretic and vermifuge. The complete seed, together with the husk, is used to remove tapeworms. The seed 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. 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. The seed is used to treat hypertrophy of the prostate. The seed is high in zinc and has been used successfully in the early stages of prostate problems. The diuretic action has been used in the treatment of nephritis and other problems of the urinary system. The leaves are applied externally to burns. The sap of the plant and the pulp of the fruit can also be used. The fruit pulp is used as a decoction to relieve intestinal inflammation.
Seed - sow April 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. The seed requires a minimum temperature of 13°c to germinate. 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 outdoors until they are growing strongly.
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Requires a rich, well-drained moisture retentive soil and a very warm, sunny and sheltered position. Prefers a pH of 5.5 to 5.9, but tolerates up to 6.8. Plants are tolerant of light shade (This comment is probably more applicable to warmer climates than Britain[K].). A frost-tender annual plant, the pumpkin or marrow is widely cultivated in temperate and tropical zones for its edible fruit. It has long been grown as a domestic plant and a number of different groups have been developed. Botanists have tried to classify these groups, though there is considerable overlap and clear distinctions are not always possible. Since they are very similar in their cultivation needs, we have treated all the groups together in this entry. The botanists classification is as follows:-
C. pepo pepo. This includes the vegetable marrows, zucchinis, pumpkins and ornamental gourds. There are many named varieties and these can vary considerably in size, shape and flavour. The cultivars with larger and rounder fruits are usually called pumpkins, the fruits are harvested in the autumn and can be stored for a few months. The marrows are smaller than pumpkins and generally sausage-shaped. These can also be harvested in the autumn and stored for a few months, but it is more usual to eat them whilst they are still very small, when they are known as courgettes. Harvesting the fruits of the marrows when very small stimulates the plant into making more flowers (and hence fruits) so it can be a very productive way of using the plant.
C. pepo pepo fraterna. This is the probable progenitor of the marrows and so is of potential value in any breeding programmes. C. pepo ovifera. This group includes various summer squashes including the acorn, crookneck and patty pan squashes. C. pepo ovifera ozarkana. A probable ancestor of the summer squashes, it could be of value in breeding programmes. C. pepo texana. The texas gourd, or wild marrow, is another form that could be of value in breeding programmes.
Plants produce both male and female flowers. These are insect pollinated but in cool weather it is worthwhile hand pollinating. Most cultivars are day-length neutral and so are able to flower and fruit throughout the British summer. A fast-growing plant, trailing forms can be used to provide a summer screen. This species does not hybridize naturally with other edible members of this genus. Squashes and pumpkins can be differentiated from each other by their fruit stalk, it is angular and polygonal in pumpkins but thick, soft and round in squashes. Pumpkins grow well with sweetcorn and thornapple but they dislike growing near potatoes. They also grow well with nasturtiums, mint, beans and radishes.
The fruit of C. pepo can be harvested when young when it is commonly referred to as a Courgette or Zucchini, or more generally a Summer Squash, or can be left to mature until it forms a thick skin and harvested at the end of the growing season, when it is commonly referred to as a Pumpkin or Winter Squash. Various cultivars have been bred to be harvested at a specific size. See cultivars for more details.
Problems, pests & diseases
Associations & Interactions
There are no interactions listed for Cucurbita pepo. Do you know of an interaction that should be listed here? to add it.
Polycultures & Guilds
There are no polycultures listed which include Cucurbita pepo.
This table shows all the data stored for this plant.
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