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Cucurbita moschata - (Duchesne. ex Lam.)Duchesne. ex Poir.

Common Name Squash, Crookneck squash
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 Origin is obscure.
Edibility Rating    (5 of 5)
Other Uses    (0 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (3 of 5)
Tender Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun
Cucurbita moschata Squash, Crookneck squash

Cucurbita moschata Squash, Crookneck squash


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Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of flower
Cucurbita moschata 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) 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 prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.



 Cultivated Beds;

Edible Uses

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

Fruit - cooked[2, 27, 46, 105]. Some cultivars have a delicious flavour when baked, rather like a sweet potato[K]. The flesh can be dried and ground into a powder then used in making breads etc[183]. Some varieties can be stored for up to 9 months. Seed - raw or cooked[57, 86, 105]. Rich in oil with a pleasant nutty flavour[183] but very fiddly to use because the seed is small and covered with a fibrous coat[K]. An edible oil is obtained from the seed[183]. Leaves and young stems - cooked and used as a potherb or added to soups, stews etc[105, 135, 183]. Flowers - cooked[105, 135, 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.

Anthelmintic;  Galactogogue.

The seed is vermifuge[147]. It is eaten fresh or roasted for the relief of abdominal cramps and distension due to intestinal worms[218]. About 800 peeled seeds is said to make a safe and effective treatment for tape worm[218]. They are ground into a fine flour, then made into an emulsion with water and eaten. It is then necessary to take a purge in order to expel the tapeworms or other parasites from the body[7]. The boiled root is galactogogue[218].

Other Uses


None known

Cultivation details

Requires a rich, well-drained moisture retentive soil and a very warm, sunny and sheltered position[1, 37, 86]. Prefers a pH of 5.5 to 5.9, but tolerates up to 6.8[86]. Moderate rainfall favours growth, but the roots of most cultivars are sensitive to high soil-water levels[200]. The squash is a frost-tender annual plant that is widely cultivated, especially in warm temperate and tropical areas, for its edible fruit[27]. There are very many named varieties widely differing in size shape and taste[27, 183]. Some varieties are used in the summer and autumn whilst others are harvested in the autumn and can be stored for several months. Succeeds outdoors most years in Britain[27]. Plants are more suited to warmer climates than Britain[200] and are only really successful in good summers in this country, they do not do well in the north[86]. Most cultivars are day-length neutral[200]. This species only hybridizes with other members of the genus under controlled conditions[86, 135]. Grows well with sweetcorn, radishes and nasturtium but dislikes potatoes[18, 20]. 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].


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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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Expert comment


(Duchesne. ex Lam.)Duchesne. ex Poir.

Botanical References


Links / References

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Readers comment

Clueless Person In Search Of Useful Info And Not Finding Any   Tue Oct 10 2006

Can cucurbita moschata survive in flooded areas?

Ajna fern   Mon Oct 16 2006

no this plant will not tollerate flooded soils. If you look at the cultivation details at the top of this page you will see that the plant needs freely draining soils

George Michalopoulos   Sun Oct 14 2007

What is the tolerance of pollen to high temperatures for butternut squash?

Valerie Lai   Mon Oct 29 2007

Can I have the photos on Cucurbita moschata, C. pepo L. & c. maxima to see the difference? Thanks

   Mar 31 2013 12:00AM

Perhaps it would be helpful if you used plants' common names... This is butternut squash - grows easily, fabulous vegetable with many uses.

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