Cucurbita L.

Cucurbita is a taxonomically complex genus of ca. 27 species, all native in the New World. At least five species are cultivated for their edible fruits (incl. gourds, courgettes, vegetable marrows and pumpkins).

Two species are usually claimed as aliens in western Europe, Cucurbita maxima Duchesne ex Lam. and C. pepo but only the latter is commonly observed in Belgium. Both species are much alike but nearly all records of Cucurbita maxima turned out to be in error. This species (true pumpkin) is apparently much less frequently eaten as a vegetable (Grenfell 1984). Moreover, it is a more southern species (Herklots 1986) and germination is possibly less likely. In addition to these two species a third (C. moschata) is also sometimes recorded on dumps.

1       Upper leaf surface velvety (soft) to the touch, often with distinct white markings. Sepals lanceolate, widening at base === Cucurbita moschata

         Upper leaf surface usually rough, hirsute hairy (only soft hairy in C. maxima), never with white markings. Sepals linear, with parallel sides === 2

2       Peduncle in fruit deeply furrowed, conspicuously 5-angled, not corky. Leaves deeply 5-lobed, hirsute hairy. Seeds 7-15(-20) mm long === C. pepo

         Peduncle terete, becoming corky in fruit. Leaves almost entire or very shallowly lobed, softly hairy. Seeds 20-25(-30) mm long === C. maxima


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Taxonomic name: 
Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith