HOME

TheInfoList




''Cucurbita ficifolia'' is a species of
squash Squash may refer to: Sports * Squash (sport), the high-speed racquet sport also known as squash racquets * Squash (professional wrestling), an extremely one-sided match in professional wrestling * Squash tennis, a game similar to squash racquets ...
, grown for its edible
seed A seed is an embryonic ''Embryonic'' is the twelfth studio album by experimental rock band the Flaming Lips released on October 13, 2009, on Warner Bros. Records, Warner Bros. The band's first double album, it was released to generally positi ...

seed
s,
fruit In botany Botany, also called , plant biology or phytology, is the science of plant life and a branch of biology. A botanist, plant scientist or phytologist is a scientist who specialises in this field. The term "botany" comes from the ...

fruit
, and
greens Greens may refer to: *Leaf vegetable Leaf vegetables, also called leafy greens, salad greens, pot herbs, vegetable greens, or simply greens, are plant leaves eaten as a vegetable, sometimes accompanied by tender petioles and shoots. Althou ...
. It has many common names in English such as the fig-leaf gourd, Malabar gourd, black seed squash and cidra. Although it is closely related to other squashes in its genus, such as the
pumpkin A pumpkin is a cultivar of winter squash that is round with smooth, slightly ribbed skin, and is most often deep yellow to orange in coloration. The thick shell contains the seeds and pulp. The name is most commonly used for cultivars of ''C ...

pumpkin
, it shows considerable biochemical difference from them and does not hybridize readily with them.


Common names in English

* black-seed squash * cidra * fig-leaf gourd * figleaf gourd * fig-leaved gourd * Malabar gourd * pie melon * sidra * Thai marrow


Common names in other languages

* Abóbora-chila or abóbora gila (Portugal, Brazil) * Alcayota (
Chile Chile, officially the Republic of Chile, is a country in the western part of South America South America is a entirely in the and mostly in the , with a relatively small portion in the . It can also be described as the southern ...

Chile
and the
Cuyo Cuyo means "whose" in Spanish language, Spanish, but may also refer to: * Cuyo (Argentina) * Cuyo Province, historic, Argentina * Cuyo, Palawan, Philippines * Cuyo Airport, Philippines * Cuyo Archipelago, Philippines * Guinea pig dish eaten mainly b ...
region of
Argentina Argentina (), officially the Argentine Republic ( es, link=no, República Argentina), is a country located mostly in the southern half of South America South America is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasse ...

Argentina
) * Black seeded pumpkin (Japan), written as kurodane kabocha, 黒種南瓜 and フィシフォリア * Cabell d'Àngel (angel's hair) (in
Catalan Catalan may refer to: Catalonia From, or related to Catalonia: * Catalan language, a Romance language * Catalans, an ethnic group formed by the people from, or with origins in, Catalonia * Països Catalans, territories where Catalan is spoken * C ...
) * Calabaza de cabello de ángel (angel's hair pumpkin) (
Spain , image_flag = Bandera de España.svg , image_coat = Escudo de España (mazonado).svg , national_motto = , national_anthem = , image_map = , map_caption = , image_map2 ...

Spain
) * Cayote (most of
Argentina Argentina (), officially the Argentine Republic ( es, link=no, República Argentina), is a country located mostly in the southern half of South America South America is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasse ...

Argentina
) * Chiberre (Honduras) * Chiverre(Costa Rica) * Chilacayote (Mexico, Panama), Chilacayotl (Mexico, Guatemala) or Tzilacayote (Mexico) * Courge à choucroute de cheveux d'ange (France) * Courge de Siam (France) * Lacayote (Argentina, Bolivia, Peru) * Mboga ya kimasai (Swahili) * Tenerifa (Madeira Island, Portugal) * shark fin melon (Asia), written as 魚翅瓜 in Mandarin * Calabaza (Colombia) * Zambo (
Ecuador Ecuador ( ; ; Quechua Quechua may refer to: *Quechua people, several indigenous ethnic groups in South America, especially in Peru *Quechuan languages, a Native South American language family spoken primarily in the Andes, derived from a ...

Ecuador
) * Zucca del Siam or Zucca del Malabar (Italy)


Description

Like most members of the genus ''
Cucurbita ''Cucurbita'' (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republic, ...

Cucurbita
'', ''C. ficifolia'' is a climbing vine that is an
annual Annual may refer to: *Annual publication, periodical publications appearing regularly once per year **Yearbook **Literary annual *Annual plant *Annual report *Annual giving *Annual, Morocco, a settlement in northeastern Morocco *Annuals (band), a ...
in temperate climates and a perennial in tropical zones. Unlike some other ''Cucurbita'' species, it does not have swollen storage roots. The plant stem can grow five to fifteen meters and produces tendrils that help it climb adjacent plants and structures. It may root from the leaf axils, unlike most other curcubits. The
vine A vine (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be in relation ...

vine
can become semiwoody if left to grow perennially, although most commercial plants are annual. Its leaves resemble fig leaves, hence its most common name in English – fig-leaf gourd – and its Latin species name (''C. ficifolia'' which means fig leaf). The fruit is oblong, resembling a watermelon, with wide black seeds. In stark contrast to other ''Cucurbita'', its fruit is highly uniform in size, shape, and color. The plant is monoecious with imperfect flowers (meaning its flowers are either male or female but both sexes can be found on the same plant) and are pollinated by insects, especially bees. The color of the flowers is yellow to orange. The fruit is oblong with a diameter of eight inches or 20 centimeters, weighs eleven to 13 pounds (5 to 6 kilograms), and can produce up to 500 seeds. Its skin can vary from light or dark green to cream. One plant can produce over 50 fruit. The fruit can last without decomposing for several years if kept dry after harvest.


Origin and distribution

It is native to the
Americas The Americas (also collectively called America) is a landmass comprising the totality of North America, North and South America. The Americas make up most of the land in Earth's Western Hemisphere and comprise the New World. Along with th ...

Americas
, although the exact center of
domestication Domestication is a sustained multi-generational relationship in which one group of organisms assumes a significant degree of influence over the reproduction and care of another group to secure a more predictable supply of resources from that sec ...
is unclear. Linguistic evidence suggests
Mexico Mexico, officially the United Mexican States, is a country A country is a distinct territorial body or political entity A polity is an identifiable political entity—any group of people who have a collective identity, who are organi ...

Mexico
, because of the wide use of names based on the
Nahuatl Nahuatl (; ),The Classical Nahuatl word (noun stem ''nāhua'', + absolutive ''-tl'' ) is thought to mean "a good, clear sound" This language name has several spellings, among them náhuatl (the standard spelling in the Spanish language),() Nao ...

Nahuatl
name "chilacayohtli" as far south as
Argentina Argentina (), officially the Argentine Republic ( es, link=no, República Argentina), is a country located mostly in the southern half of South America South America is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasse ...

Argentina
. However, archaeological evidence suggests
Peru , , image_flag = Flag_of_Peru.svg , image_coat = Escudo_nacional_del_Perú.svg , other_symbol = Great Seal of the State , other_symbol_type = Seal (device), National seal , national_mott ...

Peru
because the earliest remains have been found there. Biosystematics has been unable to confirm either hypothesis. Archeological records show that it was the most widespread variety of ''Cucurbita'' in the Americas, cultivated from northern Chile and Argentina Northwest to Mexico. Now it is grown as far north as southern California. In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, Europeans introduced it to the Mediterranean regions of Europe (specifically France and Portugal) as well as India. From there it has spread to many other parts of the world and picked up more names.


Cultivation

The fig-leaved gourd grows in temperate highlands at elevations up to . It is often used as a grafting rootstock for other less resistant cucurbits. ''C. ficifolia'' can be propagated through planting seeds and by
layering Layering has evolved as a common means of vegetative propagation of numerous species in natural environments. Layering is also utilized by horticulturists to propagate desirable plants. Natural layering typically occurs when a branch touches th ...

layering
.
Tendril upA curling tendril In botany, a tendril is a specialized Plant stem, stem, leaf or Petiole (botany), petiole with a threadlike shape used by climbing plants for support and attachment, as well as cellular invasion by parasitic plants such as '' ...

Tendril
s can grow into roots if anchored into the soil, and can propagate new plants once cut, which can be moved to new sites. Because it is not very resistant to frost, it is often planted after this risk has passed. Established plants, however can withstand short overnight frosts.


Uses

The flowers, leaves and tender shoots are used in Mexico and other countries as
greens Greens may refer to: *Leaf vegetable Leaf vegetables, also called leafy greens, salad greens, pot herbs, vegetable greens, or simply greens, are plant leaves eaten as a vegetable, sometimes accompanied by tender petioles and shoots. Althou ...
. The most nutritional part of ''Cucurbita ficifolia'' is its
fat In nutrition Nutrition is the biochemical Biochemistry or biological chemistry, is the study of chemical processes within and relating to living organisms. A sub-discipline of both chemistry and biology, biochemistry may be divided ...

fat
- and
protein Proteins are large biomolecule , showing alpha helices, represented by ribbons. This poten was the first to have its suckture solved by X-ray crystallography by Max Perutz and Sir John Cowdery Kendrew in 1958, for which they received a No ...

protein
-rich
seed A seed is an embryonic ''Embryonic'' is the twelfth studio album by experimental rock band the Flaming Lips released on October 13, 2009, on Warner Bros. Records, Warner Bros. The band's first double album, it was released to generally positi ...

seed
s, which can vary in color from white to black. They are used in Mexico to make
palanqueta Brittle is a type of confection consisting of flat broken pieces of hard sugar candy embedded with nuts such as pecans, almonds, or peanuts, which are usually less than 1 cm thick. It has many variations around the world, such as pasteli in Greece ...

palanqueta
s, a sweet similar to peanut
brittle A material is brittle if, when subjected to stress, it fracture Fracture is the separation of an object or material into two or more pieces under the action of stress. The fracture of a solid usually occurs due to the development of cer ...
. The
fruit In botany Botany, also called , plant biology or phytology, is the science of plant life and a branch of biology. A botanist, plant scientist or phytologist is a scientist who specialises in this field. The term "botany" comes from the ...

fruit
has several uses as food. The immature fruit is eaten cooked, while the mature fruit is sweet and used to make
confectionery Confectionery is the Art (skill), art of making confections, which are food items that are rich in sugar and carbohydrates. Exact definitions are difficult. In general, however, confectionery is divided into two broad and somewhat overlappi ...
and
beverage A drink (or beverage) is a liquid intended for human consumption. In addition to their basic function of satisfying thirst, drinks play important roles in human culture. Common types of drinks include plain drinking water, milk, juice and soft dr ...

beverage
s, sometimes
alcoholic Alcoholism is, broadly, any drinking of alcohol (drug), alcohol that results in significant Mental health, mental or physical health problems. Alcoholism is not a recognized diagnostic entity. Predominant diagnostic classifications are alcoho ...
. The fruit is low in , as can be seen from its white flesh, and is relatively low in
vitamin A vitamin is an organic molecule , CH4; is among the simplest organic compounds. In chemistry, organic compounds are generally any chemical compounds that contain carbon-hydrogen chemical bond, bonds. Due to carbon's ability to Catenation, ...
s and
mineral In geology and mineralogy, a mineral or mineral species is, broadly speaking, a solid chemical compound with a fairly well-defined chemical composition and a specific crystal structure that occurs naturally in pure form.John P. Rafferty, ed. (2 ...
s, and moderately high in
carbohydrate A carbohydrate () is a biomolecule , showing alpha helices, represented by ribbons. This poten was the first to have its suckture solved by X-ray crystallography by Max Perutz and Sir John Cowdery Kendrew in 1958, for which they received a ...
s. In Europe: In
Spain , image_flag = Bandera de España.svg , image_coat = Escudo de España (mazonado).svg , national_motto = , national_anthem = , image_map = , map_caption = , image_map2 ...

Spain
this squash is used to make a jam known as " cabello de ángel" (angel's hair), "cabell d'àngel" in Catalan, that is used to fill pies, sweets and confectionery. In
Portugal Portugal, officially the Portuguese Republic ( pt, República Portuguesa, links=yes ), is a country A country is a distinct territorial body or political entity A polity is an identifiable political entity—any group of people who ...

Portugal
, where the fruit is known as "chila" or "gila", it is still used extensively in the production of traditional Portuguese sweets and confectionery; it was also used as a crop for non-human consumption in order to feed pigs. In Latin America: In
Chile Chile, officially the Republic of Chile, is a country in the western part of South America South America is a entirely in the and mostly in the , with a relatively small portion in the . It can also be described as the southern ...

Chile
jam is often made out of the fruit of "''alcayota''. In
Costa Rica Costa Rica (, ; ; literally "Rich Coast"), officially the Republic of Costa Rica ( es, República de Costa Rica), is a country in Central America Central America ( es, América Central, , ''Centroamérica'' ) is a region of the Amer ...

Costa Rica
, it is traditional to make
empanada An empanada is a dish of Spanish cuisine Spanish cuisine consists of the cooking traditions and practices from Spain , * gl, Reino de España, * oc, Reiaume d'Espanha, , , image_flag = Bandera de España.svg , image_coat = Es ...

empanada
s stuffed with
sugar Sugar is the generic name for sweet-tasting, soluble carbohydrate is a disaccharide A disaccharide (also called a double sugar or ''biose'') is the sugar formed when two monosaccharides are joined by glycosidic linkage. Like monosacc ...

sugar
ed "''chiverre''" filling at
Easter Easter,Traditional names for the feast in English are "Easter Day", as in the ''Book of Common Prayer''; "Easter Sunday", used by James Ussher''The Whole Works of the Most Rev. James Ussher, Volume 4'' and Samuel Pepys''The Diary of Samuel Pe ...

Easter
time. In Asia, the pulp strands are used to make soup, quite similar to
shark fin soup Shark fin soup is a traditional soup or stewed dish served in parts of China, Taiwan, and Southeast Asia. The shark fins provide texture, while the taste comes from the other soup ingredients. It is commonly served at special occasions such as w ...
, hence the name "shark's fin melon". The cultivation and this usage feature briefly in the film '' Grow Your Own''. Across Asia, eating this melon is also said to help people with diabetes. Several scientific studies have confirmed its hypoglycemic effect. It is used effectively to treat diabetes due to its high D-Chiro-Inositol content. The vine and fruit are used for
fodder Fodder (), also called provender (), is any agricultural Agriculture is the practice of cultivating plants and livestock. Agriculture was the key development in the rise of sedentary Image:Family watching television 1958.jpg, Exercise ...

fodder
. Because of its ability to keep for a long time, the ripe fruit was taken on voyages on ships, and used for food for livestock on board. File:Cucurbita ficifolia female flower 21 de juny de 2009 003.jpg File:Pumpkin flower.JPG File:Cucurbitales - Cucurbita ficifolia 1 - 2011.09.02.jpg File:Cucurbita_ficifolia_Ficifolia_verda77.jpg


References


External links

* {{Taxonbar, from=Q431138 ficifolia Edible nuts and seeds Flora of Argentina Flora of Chile Flora of Mexico Flora of Peru Squashes and pumpkins