Please donate to support our ‘Plants to Save the Planet’ Project. The Project is directed at enabling designers of ‘carbon farms’ and ‘food forests’: agroecosystems of perennial plants, to choose the most appropriate plants for their requirements and site conditions. We are working on a subset of plants in the PFAF database identified as having the most potential for inclusion in such designs. We are adding search terms and icons to those plants pages, and providing a range of search options aligned to categories of plants and crop yields, with Help facilities including videos. More >>>

Follow Us:


Cucurbita pepo - L.

Common Name Pumpkin, Field pumpkin, Ozark melon, Texas 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 C. America? The origin is obscure[86].
Edibility Rating    (4 of 5)
Other Uses    (0 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (3 of 5)
Tender Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun
Cucurbita pepo Pumpkin, Field pumpkin, Ozark melon, Texas gourd
Cucurbita pepo Pumpkin, Field pumpkin, Ozark melon, Texas gourd


Translate this page:


Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of flower
Cucurbita pepo 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.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map



 Cultivated Beds;

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Flowers  Fruit  Leaves  Oil  Oil  Root  Seed
Edible Uses: Oil  Oil

Fruit - cooked[2, 27, 46, 105]. Used as a vegetable, it has a very mild flavour and is very watery[K]. It is often harvested when still very young when it is called courgettes. The fruit has very little flavour of its own and so is often used as a base for making savoury dishes, the seeds being scooped out of the fruit and a filling being put in its place - this can then be baked[K]. A nutritional analysis is available[218]. Seed - raw or cooked[57, 86, 183]. The seed can also be ground into a powder and mixed with cereals for making bread etc[183]. Rich in oil with a pleasant nutty flavour but very fiddly to use because the seed is small and covered with a fibrous coat[K]. A nutritional analysis is available[218]. The seeds can also be sprouted and used in salads etc[183]. Some caution is advised here, see notes above on toxicity. An edible oil is obtained from the seed[46, 105, 117, 183]. Leaves and young stems - cooked as a potherb[135, 183]. A nutritional analysis is available[218]. Flowers and flower buds - cooked or dried for later use[135, 183]. A nutritional analysis is available[218]. Root - cooked[179]. We have some doubts on this report[K].

Figures in grams (g) or miligrams (mg) per 100g of food.
Flowers (Dry weight)
  • 308 Calories per 100g
  • Water : 0%
  • Protein: 26.9g; Fat: 5.8g; Carbohydrate: 51.9g; Fibre: 11.5g; Ash: 15.4g;
  • Minerals - Calcium: 904mg; Phosphorus: 1653mg; Iron: 19.2mg; Magnesium: 0mg; Sodium: 0mg; Potassium: 0mg; Zinc: 0mg;
  • Vitamins - A: 7692mg; Thiamine (B1): 0.38mg; Riboflavin (B2): 2.12mg; Niacin: 11.54mg; B6: 0mg; C: 346mg;
  • Reference: [ 218]
  • Notes:

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  Miscellany  Poultice

The pumpkin has been much used as a medicine in Central and North America. It is a gentle and safe remedy for a number of complaints, especially as an effective tapeworm remover for children and pregnant women for whom stronger acting and toxic remedies are unsuitable[254]. The seeds are mildly diuretic and vermifuge[7, 88, 254]. The complete seed, together with the husk, is used to remove tapeworms. The seed 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 seed is used to treat hypertrophy of the prostate[218]. The seed is high in zinc and has been used successfully in the early stages of prostate problems[254]. The diuretic action has been used in the treatment of nephritis and other problems of the urinary system[254]. The leaves are applied externally to burns[240]. The sap of the plant and the pulp of the fruit can also be used[254]. The fruit pulp is used as a decoction to relieve intestinal inflammation[254].

Our new book Edible Shrubs is now available.

Edible Shrubs provides detailed information, attractively presented, on over 70 shrub species. They have been selected to provide a mix of different plant sizes and growing conditions. Most provide delicious and nutritious fruit, but many also have edible leaves, seeds, flowers, stems or roots, or they yield edible or useful oil.

Read More

Edible Shrubs Book

Other Uses

Miscellany  Oil  Oil

The seed contains 34 - 54% of a semi-drying oil. Used for lighting[46].

Cultivation details

Requires a rich, well-drained moisture retentive soil and a very warm, sunny and sheltered position[1, 16, 37, 86]. Prefers a pH of 5.5 to 5.9, but tolerates up to 6.8[86]. Plants are tolerant of light shade[86] (This comment is probably more applicable to warmer climates than Britain[K].). A frost-tender annual plant, the pumpkin or marrow is widely cultivated in temperate and tropical zones for its edible fruit. It has long been grown as a domestic plant and a number of different groups have been developed. Botanists have tried to classify these groups, though there is considerable overlap and clear distinctions are not always possible. Since they are very similar in their cultivation needs, we have treated all the groups together in this entry. The botanists classification is as follows:- C. pepo pepo. This includes the vegetable marrows, zucchinis, pumpkins and ornamental gourds. There are many named varieties and these can vary considerably in size, shape and flavour[27, 183, 200]. The cultivars with larger and rounder fruits are usually called pumpkins, the fruits are harvested in the autumn and can be stored for a few months. The marrows are smaller than pumpkins and generally sausage-shaped. These can also be harvested in the autumn and stored for a few months, but it is more usual to eat them whilst they are still very small, when they are known as courgettes. Harvesting the fruits of the marrows when very small stimulates the plant into making more flowers (and hence fruits) so it can be a very productive way of using the plant. Pumpkins and marrows succeed outdoors most summers in Britain[27], in fact many of these varieties are well adapted to cool growing conditions and therefore do well in the British climate[200]. C. pepo pepo fraterna. This is the probable progenitor of the marrows and so is of potential value in any breeding programmes. C. pepo ovifera. This group includes various summer squashes including the acorn, crookneck and patty pan squashes. C. pepo ovifera ozarkana. A probable ancestor of the summer squashes, it could be of value in breeding programmes. C. pepo texana. The texas gourd, or wild marrow, is another form that could be of value in breeding programmes. Plants produce both male and female flowers. These are insect pollinated but in cool weather it is worthwhile hand pollinating[200]. Most cultivars are day-length neutral and so are able to flower and fruit throughout the British summer[200]. A fast-growing plant, trailing forms can be used to provide a summer screen[86]. This species does not hybridize naturally with other edible members of this genus[135]. 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]. Pumpkins grow well with sweetcorn and thornapple but they dislike growing near potatoes[18, 20, 201]. They also grow well with nasturtiums, mint, beans and radishes[201].

Temperature Converter

Type a value in the Celsius field to convert the value to Fahrenheit:



The PFAF Bookshop

Plants For A Future have a number of books available in paperback and digital form. Book titles include Edible Plants, Edible Perennials, Edible Trees, and Woodland Gardening. Our new book to be released soon is Edible Shrubs.

Shop Now


Seed - sow April 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. The seed requires a minimum temperature of 13°c to germinate[200]. 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 outdoors until they are growing strongly.

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 :

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameEdibility RatingMedicinal Rating
Abobra tenuifoliaCranberry Gourd10
Acanthosicyos horridusNaras. Butterpips32
Benincasa hispidaWax Gourd33
Bryonia albaWhite Bryony12
Bryonia dioicaRed Bryony, Cretan bryony12
Citrullus colocynthisPerennial egusi, Bitter-apple32
Citrullus lanatusWater Melon43
Coccinia grandisIvy Gourd22
Cucumis anguriaGherkin, West Indian gherkin31
Cucumis meloMelon, Cantaloupe42
Cucumis melo agrestisWild Melon32
Cucumis melo cantalupensisCantaloupe Melon42
Cucumis melo chitoOrange Melon32
Cucumis melo conomonPickling Melon42
Cucumis melo flexuosusSerpent Melon42
Cucumis melo inodorusHoneydew Melon42
Cucumis melo momordicaSnap Melon42
Cucumis metuliferusHorned Cucumber, African horned cucumber22
Cucumis sativusCucumber, Garden cucumber42
Cucurbita argyrospermaCushaw Pumpkin42
Cucurbita digitataCoyote Gourd30
Cucurbita ficifoliaMalabar Gourd, Figleaf gourd32
Cucurbita foetidissimaBuffalo Gourd, Missouri gourd32
Cucurbita maximaWinter Squash53
Cucurbita moschataSquash, Crookneck squash53
Cyclanthera brachystachyaCuchinito10
Cyclanthera pedataAchocha, Caihua, Caygua, Cayua, Korila, Wild Cucumber34
Ecballium elateriumSquirting Cucumber02
Echinocystis lobataWild Cucumber01


Print Friendly and PDF

Expert comment



Botanical References


Links / References

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

Readers comment

pepo   Sun Oct 17 09:40:08 2004


Link: mahala

ade adeyinka   Thu Nov 19 2009

Has there been any published scientific publication on it particularly the medicinal uses?

QR Code

What's this?

This is a QR code (short for Quick Response) which gives fast-track access to our website pages. QR Codes are barcodes that can be read by mobile phone (smartphone) cameras. This QR Code is unique to this page. All plant pages have their own unique code. For more information about QR Codes click here.

1. Copy and print the QR code to a plant label, poster, book, website, magazines, newspaper etc and even t-shirts.

2. Smartphone users scan the QR Code which automatically takes them to the webpage the QR Code came from.

3. Smartphone users quickly have information on a plant directly for the website on their phone.

Add a comment

If you have important information about this plant that may help other users please add a comment or link below. Only comments or links that are felt to be directly relevant to a plant will be included. If you think a comment/link or information contained on this page is inaccurate or misleading we would welcome your feedback at If you have questions about a plant please use the Forum on this website as we do not have the resources to answer questions ourselves.

* Please note: the comments by website users are not necessarily those held by PFAF and may give misleading or inaccurate information.

To leave a comment please Register or login here All comments need to be approved so will not appear immediately.

Subject : Cucurbita pepo  
All the information contained in these pages is Copyright (C) Plants For A Future, 1996-2012.
Plants For A Future is a charitable company limited by guarantee, registered in England and Wales. Charity No. 1057719, Company No. 3204567,
Web Design & Management
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License. Some information cannot be used for commercial reasons or be modified (but some can). Please view the copyright link for more information.