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Cucurbita argyrosperma

Cucurbita argyrosperma, also the Japanese pie pumpkin[2] or pipian,[citation needed] cushaw pumpkin,[2] and silver-seed gourd,[2] is a species of winter squash originally from the south of Mexico.[3][4] This annual herbaceous plant is cultivated in the Americas for its nutritional value: its flowers, shoots, and fruits are all harvested, but it is cultivated most of all for its seeds,[5] which are used for sauces. It was formerly known as Cucurbita mixta.[5][6]

It is a Cucurbita species, with pumpkin varieties that are commonly cultivated in the United States as part of the Eastern Agricultural Complex[7] and Mexico south to Nicaragua. Of all the cultivated Cucurbita species, it is found outside of the Americas the least. It originated in Mesoamerica and its wild ancestor is Cucurbita sororia. It is also closely related to Cucurbita kellyana and Cucurbita palmeri.[5][8]


The flowers are orange or yellow and bloom in July or August. The plant grows about 1 foot high and spreads 10-15 feet. It likes well drained soil and has both male and female flowers. Fruits can weigh up to 20 pounds.[4] It is often found in close proximity to Cucurbita moschata.[9]



The flowers, stems, shoots, and fruits of the unripe plant are consumed as vegetables.[10] In the south of Mexico, the wild, more bitter varieties are used in this same way, once washed and cleaned to eliminate cucurbitin. The ripe plant is grilled to make pies or used to feed animals.

The seeds yield an edible oil.[10]

The plant's adaptation to warm climates, and a resistance to squash borers, make it very competitive in the agricultural industry. It is used especially in the southern states of the U.S. for use in pies, preferred over other pumpkins by some cooks.

It is also grown in the Sonoran Desert region of the Southwestern United States and Northwestern Mexico by native peoples, especially the Tohono O'odham, where it is especially prized when immature as a summer squash.

Medicinal properties[edit]

Cucurbita argyrosperma also has medicinal properties. A liquid emulsion of its seed can act as a vermifuge, and the subsequent use of a laxative can effect an expulsion of parasitic worms.[10]

Another medicinal use of Cucurbita argyrosperma is that of the flesh, which can be used for burns, eczema, and promoting lactation in nursing women.[8]


  1. ^ "The Plant List: A Working List of All Plant Species". 
  2. ^ a b c "USDA GRIN Taxonomy". Retrieved 3 January 2015. 
  3. ^ Sanjur, Oris I.; Piperno, Dolores R.; Andres, Thomas C.; Wessel-Beaver, Linda (2002). "Phylogenetic Relationships among Domesticated and Wild Species of Cucurbita (Cucurbitaceae) Inferred from a Mitochondrial Gene: Implications for Crop Plant Evolution and Areas of Origin" (PDF). Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (Washington, DC: National Academy of Sciences) 99 (1): 535–540. doi:10.1073/pnas.012577299. JSTOR 3057572.  edit
  4. ^ a b "Cucurbita argyrosperma". Missouri Botanical Garden. Retrieved September 15, 2013. 
  5. ^ a b c Nee, Michael (1990). "The Domestication of Cucurbita (Cucurbitaceae)". Economic Botany (New York: New York Botanical Gardens Press) 44 (3, Supplement: New Perspectives on the Origin and Evolution of New World Domesticated Plants): 56–68. JSTOR 4255271.  edit
  6. ^ Merrick, Laura C. "Characterization of Cucurbita argyrosperma, a Potential New Crop for Seed and Fruit Production". HortScience (American Society for Horticultural Science) 25 (9): 1141. 
  7. ^ Fritz, Gayle J. (1994). "Precolumbian Cucurbita argyrosperma ssp. argyrosperma (Cucurbitaceae) in the Eastern Woodlands of North America". Economic Botany (New York Botanical Garden Press) 48 (3): 280–292. doi:10.2307/4255642. JSTOR 4255642.  edit
  8. ^ a b Saade, R. Lira; Hernández, S. Montes. "Cucurbits". Purdue Horticulture. Retrieved September 2, 2013. 
  9. ^ Wessel-Beaver, Linda. "Cucurbita argyrosperma Sets Fruit in Fields Where Cucurbita moschata is the only Pollen Source". University of Puerto Rico-Mayaguez. Retrieved September 15, 2013. 
  10. ^ a b c "Cucurbita argyrosperma - C.Huber". Plants for a Future. Retrieved September 14, 2013. 


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