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Gourd

Botanical Name:

Cucurbita

Common Name:

Gourd,[[common name::squash,Gourd [latin name for gourd]]],Ornamental Gourd,Ornamental Pumpkin,Pumpkin,Squash,Summer Squash,Winter Squash,Zucchini

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Description

C. pepo pumpkins – the two bright orange ones in center right, and squashes C. maxima, all others Cucurbita species fall into two main groups. The first group are annual or short-lived perennial vines and are mesophytic, i.e. they require a more or less continuous water supply. The second group are perennials growing in arid zones and so are xerophytic, tolerating dry conditions. Cultivated Cucurbita species were derived from the first group. Growing 5 to 15 meters (16 to 49 ft) in height or length, the plant stem produces tendrils to help it climb adjacent plants and structures or extend along the ground. Most species do not readily root from the nodes; a notable exception is C. ficifolia, and the four other cultivated mesophytes do this to a lesser extent. The vine of the perennial Cucurbita can become semiwoody if left to grow. There is wide variation in size, shape, and color among Cucurbita fruits, and even within a single species. C. ficifolia is an exception, being highly uniform in appearance. The morphological variation in the species C. pepo and C. maxima is so vast that its various subspecies and cultivars have been misidentified as totally separate species.   The leaves of Cucurbita moschata often have white spots near the veins. The typical cultivated Cucurbita species has five-lobed or palmately divided leaves with long petioles, with the leaves alternately arranged on the stem. The stems in some species are angular. All of the above-ground parts may be hairy with various types of trichomes, which are often hardened and sharp. Spring-like tendrils grow from each node and are branching in some species. C. argyrosperma has ovate-cordate (egg-shaped to heart-shaped) leaves. The shape of C. pepo leaves varies widely. C. moschata plants can have light or dense pubescence. C. ficifolia leaves are slightly angular and have light pubescence. The leaves of all four of these species may or may not have white spots.There are male (staminate) and female (pistillate) flowers (unisexual flowers) on a single plant (monoecious), and these grow singly, appearing from the leaf axils. Flowers have five fused yellow to orange petals (the corolla) and a green bell-shaped calyx. Male flowers in Cucurbitaceae generally have five stamens, but in Cucurbita there are only three, and their anthers are joined together so that there appears to be one. Female flowers have thick pedicels, and an inferior ovary with 3–5 stigmas that each have two lobes. The female flowers of C. argyrosperma and C. ficifolia have larger corollas than the male flowers. Female flowers of C. pepo have a small calyx, but the calyx of C. moschata male flowers is comparatively short.   A variety of fruits displayed at the Real Jardín Botánico de Madrid in 2016 Cucurbita fruits are large and fleshy. Botanists classify the Cucurbita fruit as a pepo, which is a special type of berry derived from an inferior ovary, with a thick outer wall or rind with hypanthium tissue forming an exocarp around the ovary, and a fleshy interior composed of mesocarp and endocarp. The term "pepo" is used primarily for Cucurbitaceae fruits, where this fruit type is common, but the fruits of Passiflora and Carica are sometimes also pepos. The seeds, which are attached to the ovary wall (parietal placentation) and not to the center, are large and fairly flat with a large embryo that consists almost entirely of two cotyledons. Fruit size varies considerably: wild fruit specimens can be as small as 4 centimeters (1.6 in) and some domesticated specimens can weigh well over 300 kilograms (660 lb). The current world record was set in 2014 by Beni Meier of Switzerland with a 2,323.7-pound (1,054.0 kg) pumpkin.

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Characteristics

Bloom Time

Summer

Plant Type

Vine, Annual, Edible, Vegetable

Lifespan

Annual

Flower

Large yellow or white flowers with five petals. Most often monoecious, though some species are diecious.

Fruit

A type of berry called a pepo that has a hard rind. Fruits may be long or round, large or small, smooth or warty. Some species and cultivars are edible and some are not; among the edible ones, both fruit and seeds are edible.

How to Grow

Sunlight

Full Sun, Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)

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