Common Name: Cushaw Pumpkin
Cushaw pumpkin is a vigorous, annual climbing plant that produces long, vigorous stems that tend to sprawl over the ground though can support themselves by means of tendrils.
A frost-tender annual plant, it has long been cultivated for its edible fruit especially in warmer temperate and tropical areas.
The sprouting seed produces a toxic substance in its embryo[
C. America? Origin is uncertain.
Not known in the wild[
Plants are grown successfully from the temperate to the tropical zone. They are tolerant of high temperatures but sensitive to cool conditions, they favour moderate rainfall but the roots are sensitive to water-logging[
]. The plant is not frost tolerant.
Requires a rich, well-drained moisture retentive soil and a very warm, sunny and sheltered position[
]. Prefers a pH in the range 5.5 - 6.8[
There are some named varieties[
] and these are day-length neutral[
Over time, various more or less distinct groups of cultivars have been developed and these have been classified by botanists as detailed below. Since they all have similar requirements, and it can be rather difficult to classify some varieties, we have dealt with them all here and not given them separate entries.
C. Argyrosperma. The Cushaw pumpkin, as dealt with in this entry. It is subdivided into:-
C. Argyrosperma argyrosperma. The silver-seed gourd. Cultivated mainly for its edible seeds which are larger than in other forms with an attractive silvery edge.
C. Argyrosperma callicarpa. Japanese pie pumpkin or green-stripe cushaw.
C. Argyrosperma stenosperma. Cultivated in Mexico, we do not know of a common name.
This species does not hybridize naturally with other members of this genus, though crosses have been made under controlled conditions[
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[
This species is included in C. Moschata by some botanists[
Fruit - cooked[
]. Used as a vegetable in pies etc, it can be stored for up to 6 months. Generally the fruit is fibrousy, watery and less richly flavoured than C. maxima., C. moschata. And C. pepo[
]. The flesh can be dried, ground into a powder and mixed with cereals for making bread, cakes etc[
]. The fruit is up to 20cm in diameter[
Seed - raw, roasted or dried, ground into a powder and mixed with cereals when making bread etc[
]. The seed is rich in oil and has a pleasant nutty flavour. Although relatively large[
], they are very fiddly to use because they are covered with a fibrous coat[
An edible oil is obtained from the seed[
Leaves - cooked[
Flowers - cooked[
The seeds are vermifuge[
]. 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[
]. 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[
Seed - can be sown in situ or in containers[
]. Germination should take place within 2 weeks. When starting in containers, sow 2 or 3 seeds per pot and thin out to the best plant. Grow them on fast and plant out when they are about 10cm tall[
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