Herb: Cushaw Pumpkin

Latin name: Cucurbita argyrosperma

Synonyms: Cucurbita mixta

Family: Cucurbitaceae (Cucumber Family, Gourd Family)

Medicinal use of Cushaw Pumpkin:

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.

Description of the plant:

Annual Climber

July to

Habitat of the herb:

Not known in the wild.

Edible parts of Cushaw Pumpkin:

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.

Propagation of the herb:

Seed - sow early to mid spring in a greenhouse in a rich soil. Germination should take place within 2 weeks. Sow 2 or 3 seeds per pot and thin out to the best plant. Grow them on fast and plant out after the last expected frosts, giving them cloche or frame protection for at least their first few weeks if you are trying them outdoors.

Cultivation of Cushaw Pumpkin:

Not known in the wild.

Known hazards of Cucurbita argyrosperma:

The sprouting seed produces a toxic substance in its embryo.

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.