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Cucurbita ficifolia - Bouché.

Common Name Malabar Gourd, Figleaf gourd
Family Cucurbitaceae
USDA hardiness 9-11
Known Hazards The sprouting seed produces a toxic substance in its embryo[65].
Habitats Not known in the wild.
Range E. Asia? Original habitat is obscure.
Edibility Rating    (3 of 5)
Other Uses    (0 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (2 of 5)
Care
Tender Moist Soil Wet Soil Semi-shade Full sun
Cucurbita ficifolia Malabar Gourd, Figleaf gourd


http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Spedona
Cucurbita ficifolia Malabar Gourd, Figleaf gourd
http://flickr.com/photos/ocean_of_stars/

 

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Summary


Physical Characteristics

 
Cucurbita ficifolia is a PERENNIAL CLIMBER at a fast rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 10 and is frost tender. It is in flower from July to September, and the seeds ripen from August to October. The species is monoecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but both sexes can be found on the same plant) and is pollinated by Insects. The plant is self-fertile.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and can grow in nutritionally poor soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist or wet soil.

Synonyms

C. melanospermum.

Habitats

 Cultivated Beds;

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Fruit;  Oil;  Seed.
Edible Uses: Oil.

Fruit - cooked[22, 46, 61, 97]. Best used when young, at that stage it can be used like a cucumber. The mature fruits are sometimes boiled and eaten[183, 196]. A confection is made from the flesh by boiling it with crude sugar[183]. The mature fruit can be stored for 2 years or more and becomes sweeter with storage[200]. The fruit is up to 35cm in diameter[200]. Seed - raw[57, 86, 160]. 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[183, 196]. An edible oil is obtained from the seed. It is rich in oleic acid[196].

Medicinal Uses



Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

Vermifuge.

The seeds are vermifuge[7, 88]. 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[7]. 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[238].

Other Uses

Containers;  Oil.

The shell of the mature fruit is very hard and it can be used as a container[86].

Cultivation details

Management: Standard;  Regional Crop;  Staple Crop: Protein-oil.

Requires a rich, well-drained moisture retentive soil and a very warm, sunny and sheltered position[1]. Tolerates poor, wet and badly drained soils according to another report[160]. 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[50, 86]. A very vigorous plant, it can produce shoots 25 metres long in 1 year from seed in Britain[86]. 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[86]. Plants are day-length sensitive, flowering only in late summer and autumn[196]. This species does not hybridize naturally with other members of the genus though crosses have been made under controlled conditions[86, 135]. In America it takes 3 months from seed to first harvest and 6 months to obtain mature fruit[160]. The average fruit size is 9 kilos and this contains 2 cups of seed[160].

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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.

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :

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Herpetospermum pedunculosum 12
12

 

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Expert comment

Author

Bouché.

Botanical References

200

Links / References

For a list of references used on this page please go here

Readers comment

Michael Shilson   Mon Jun 12 2006

Does anyone know where seeds can be bought?

Larry De Puy   Mon Dec 10 2007

If michael s. is still interested I have some seed. They may still be available at J. L Hudson Seedsman, Star Route 2, Box 337 La Honda, Ca. 94020. I grew one in Escondido ca. for 5 years and it may still be growing.I am now growing them in a greenhouse in Eureka Ca.now 12/9/07 and the fruits are a solid cream color (one fruit must be over 10 pounds)they don't have the typical watermelon appearance. They have also produced long (2 to 3 feet)aerial roots,one coiling into a nepenthes pitcher another growing 2 feet to reach a pot, growing through the pot to become aerial again and grow another 3 feet. Under the right conditions Cucurbita ficifolia becomes semi-epiphitic. It seems I learn something new about this amazing squash every year.

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Subject : Cucurbita ficifolia  
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