Pumpkin

Cucurbita maxima Duchesne ex Lam.

Synonyms - Cucurbita moschata, Cucurbita pepo.

Order: Violales

Family: Cucurbitaceae

Names:

Cucurbita
Maxima
Pumpkin

Other Names:

Wild Pumpkin.

Summary:

A rapidly growing, summer vine with large leaves, yellow flowers and large fruit.

Description:

Cotyledons:

Two.

Leaves:

Stipules -
Petiole - Long, thick, vertical.
Blade - Large.

Stems:

Long, weak, low lying.

Flower head:

Flowers:

Yellow orange. Separate male and female flowers on the one plant.
Ovary -
Sepals -
Petals -
Stamens -
Anthers -

Fruit:

Large, shape varies depending on the variety, thick skinned with orange flesh surrounding a somewhat cavernous centre containing many seeds.

Seeds:

Flattened, tear shaped, yellow.

Roots:

Deep extensive root system.

Key Characters:

Biology:

Life cycle:

Annual vine. Seeds are usually planted in spring and Pumpkins are ready to harvest in 3-5 months.

Physiology:

Optimum temperature from 18-300C.
Susceptible to frost and prolonged exposure to temperatures below 100C.

Reproduction:

Require bees or insects for pollination.

Flowering times:

Summer.

Seed Biology and Germination:

Seed requires temperatures above 160C to germinate with an optimum of 24-350C.
Seedlings very prone to damping off fungus in cool conditions.

Vegetative Propagules:

None.

Hybrids:

Many commercial varieties.

Allelopathy:

Population Dynamics and Dispersal:

Spread mainly by intentional planting of seed and where household refuse is dumped.

Origin and History:

South America.
Introduced as a vegetable crop.

Distribution:

ACT, NSW, NT, QLD, SA, TAS, VIC, WA.
Naturalised in QLD, NSW, VIC.

Courtesy Australia's Virtual Herbarium.

Habitats:

Climate:

Temperate.
Warm season crop.

Soil:

Prefer deep, friable soils with a pH of 5-6.5.

Plant Associations:

Significance:

Beneficial:

Common vegetable.
Pollen source for bees.

Detrimental:

Weed of urban bushland and disturbed areas.

Toxicity:

Not recorded as toxic.

Legislation:

None.

Management and Control:

Thresholds:

Eradication strategies:

Herbicide resistance:

Biological Control:

Insect pests include Pumpkin Beetle, Spider Mite, Cucumber Fly and Helicoverpa.
Diseases include Powdery Mildew, Downy Mildew, Fusarium Root Rot, Fusarium Wilt, Gummy Stem Blight and Cucumber Mosaic Virus.

Related plants:

Marrow (Cucurbita pepo)
Pumpkin (Cucurbita maxima)
Pumpkin (Cucurbita moschata)

Plants of similar appearance:

References:

Hussey, B.M.J., Keighery, G.J., Cousens, R.D., Dodd, J. and Lloyd, S.G. (1997). Western Weeds. A guide to the weeds of Western Australia. (Plant Protection Society of Western Australia, Perth, Western Australia). P140.

Lazarides, M. and Hince, B. (1993). CSIRO handbook of economic plants of Australia. (CSIRO, Melbourne). #380.1.

Reid, R.L. (1990) The Manual of Australian Agriculture. (Butterworths, Sydney). P144-145.

Acknowledgments:

Collated by HerbiGuide. Phone 08 98444064 or www.herbiguide.com.au for more information.