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Common Name: Cushaw Pumpkin
Cucurbita argyrosperma is a Annual Climber
It is harvested from the wild for local use as a food and medicine
The sprouting seed produces a toxic substance in its embryo[
C. America? Origin is uncertain.
Not known in the wild[
Requires a rich, well-drained moisture retentive soil and a very warm, sunny and sheltered position[
]. Plants are tolerant of high temperatures but sensitive to cool conditions, they favour moderate rainfall but the roots are sensitive to water-logging[
A frost-tender annual plant, the Cushaw pumpkin has long been cultivated for its edible fruit especially in warmer temperate and tropical areas. There are some named varieties[
] and these are day-length neutral[
]. Plants can succeed outdoors in Britain in most summers so long as they are started off early in a greenhouse and grown on quickly.
Over time, various more or less distinct groups of cultivars have been developed and these have been classified by botanists as detailed below. Since they all have similar requirements, and it can be rather difficult to classify some varieties, we have dealt with them all here and not given them separate entries.
C. argyrosperma. The Cushaw pumpkin, as dealt with in this entry. It is subdivided into:-
C. argyrosperma argyrosperma. The silver-seed gourd. Cultivated mainly for its edible seeds which are larger than in other forms with an attractive silvery edge.
C. argyrosperma callicarpa. Japanese pie pumpkin or green-stripe cushaw.
C. argyrosperma stenosperma. Cultivated in Mexico, we do not know of a common name.
This species does not hybridize naturally with other members of this genus, though crosses have been made under controlled conditions[
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[
This species is included in C. moschata by some botanists[
Fruit - cooked[
]. Used as a vegetable in pies etc, it can be stored for up to 6 months. Generally the fruit is fibrousy, watery and less richly flavoured than C. maxima., C. moschata. and C. pepo[
]. The flesh can be dried, ground into a powder and mixed with cereals for making bread, cakes etc[
]. The fruit is up to 20cm in diameter[
Seed - raw, roasted or dried, ground into a powder and mixed with cereals when making bread etc[
]. The seed is rich in oil and has a pleasant nutty flavour. Although relatively large[
], they are very fiddly to use because they are covered with a fibrous coat[
An edible oil is obtained from the seed[
Leaves - cooked[
Flowers - cooked[
The seeds are vermifuge[
]. 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[
]. 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[
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.