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Golden Bush Cucurbita pepo


Bright golden fruits, on compact plant

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The Golden Bush Cucurbita pepo. Bright golden fruits, on compact plant.

Golden Bush Cucurbita pepo

Cucurbita (Latin for gourd) is a genus of herbaceous vines in the gourd family. Cucurbitaceae, also known as cucurbits, native to the Andes and Mesoamerica. Five species are grown worldwide for their edible fruit. Variously known as squash, pumpkin, or gourd depending on species, variety, and local parlance, and for their seeds. First cultivated in the Americas before being brought to Europe by returning explorers after their discovery of the New World. Plants in the genus Cucurbita are important sources of human food and oil. Other kinds of gourd, also called bottle-gourds, are native to Africa and belong to the genus Lagenaria. They are the same family and subfamily as Cucurbita but in a different tribe. These other gourds are used as utensils or vessels, and their young fruits are eaten much like those of Cucurbita species.

Most Cucurbita species are herbaceous vines that grow several meters in length and have tendrils, but non-vining “bush” cultivars of C. pepo and C. maxima have also been developed. The yellow or orange flowers on a Cucurbita plant are of two types: female and male. The female flowers produce the fruit and the male flowers produce pollen. Many North and Central American species are visited by specialist bee pollinators, but other insects with more general feeding habits, such as honey bees, also visit.

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