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Cucurbita maxima - Duchesne. ex Lam.

Common Name Winter Squash
Family Cucurbitaceae
USDA hardiness 8-11
Known Hazards The sprouting seed produces a toxic substance in its embryo[65].
Habitats Not known in the wild.
Range Origin is obscure, possibly derived in cultivation from C. andreana.
Edibility Rating  
Other Uses  
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating  
Care
Half Hardy Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun
Cucurbita maxima Winter Squash


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Cucurbita maxima Winter Squash

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Summary


Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of flower
Cucurbita maxima is a ANNUAL CLIMBER growing to 0.6 m (2ft) by 5 m (16ft 5in) at a fast rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 9 and is frost tender. It is in flower from Jul to September, and the seeds ripen from Aug to October. The species is monoecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but both sexes can be found on the same plant) and are pollinated by Insects.The plant is self-fertile.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid and neutral soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.

Synonyms

Habitats

 Cultivated Beds;

Edible Uses

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

Fruit - cooked[2, 27, 46, 97]. A delicious flavour when baked, rather like a sweet potato[K]. The flesh can be dried, ground into a powder and used with cereals in making bread, cakes etc[7, 183]. Some varieties can be stored for up to 9 months. Seed - raw or cooked[7, 57, 183]. Rich in oil with a very pleasant nutty flavour but very fiddly to use because the seed is small and covered with a fibrous coat[K]. The seed can also be ground into a powder and used with cereals in making breads etc[183]. An oil is obtained from the seed[21, 86]. Young flowers - raw or cooked[7, 135, 183]. They are often dipped in batter and fried. Young leaves and stems - cooked[135, 183]. The leaves contain up to 5% protein[183].

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.

Diuretic;  Nervine;  Poultice;  Tonic;  Vermifuge.

The seeds are diuretic, tonic and vermifuge[7, 88, 240]. The complete seed, together with the husk, is used as a vermifuge. 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]. The oil from the seed is used as a nerve tonic[240]. The fruit pulp is used as a soothing poultice on burns, inflammations and boils[240].

Other Uses

Cosmetic;  Oil;  Oil.

The seed contains 34 - 54% of a semi-drying oil[61, 86]. Used for lighting[21]. A nourishing face-mask can be made from the fruit that is effective for dry skins[7].

Cultivation details

Requires a rich, well-drained moisture retentive soil and a very warm, sunny and sheltered position[37, 86]. Prefers a pH of 5.5 to 5.9, but tolerates up to 6.8[86]. Dry periods with a relatively low humidity favour the best growth[200]. A frost-tender annual plant, it is widely cultivated in tropical and temperate zones for its edible fruit, there are very many named varieties differing considerably in their fruits[183]. Most of the winter squashes derive from this species, including Hubbard, Butternut, Acorn, Argentine and Boston[86]. Many forms require a temperature range of 20 - 27°c during the growing season, but there are some forms that tolerate cooler conditions and these succeed outdoors most years in Britain[200, K]. Most cultivars are relatively insensitive to day-length[200]. 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[132]. This species hybridizes readily with C. andreana but can only be crossed with other species under controlled conditions[86, 135]. Some modern works see C. andreana as being no more than a subspecies of this species, classifying it as C. maxima andreana (Naudin.)Filov. Grows well with sweetcorn and thornapple but dislikes potatoes[18, 20].

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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12

 

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Duchesne. ex Lam.

Botanical References

200

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Subject : Cucurbita maxima  
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