Also Known As: Curcurbita, Pumpkinseed oil
Cucurbita is a genus in the gourd family Cucurbitaceae first cultivated in Mesoamerica and now used in many parts of the world. It includes species grown for their fruit and edible seeds (the squashes, pumpkins and marrows, and the chilacayote), as well as some species grown only as gourds. These gourds (and other squashes) come in many colors, including blue, orange, yellow, red, and green. They have bicollateral vascular bundles. Many North and Central American species are visited by specialist pollinators in the apid group Eucerini, especially the genera Peponapis and Xenoglossa, and these bees can be very important for fruit set.
Cucurbita species are used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species including Cabbage Moth, Hypercompe indecisa and Turnip Moth. Cucurbitin is found in Cucurbita seeds.
Several species of Cucurbita are native to North America, including Cucurbita foetidissima (finger-leaved gourd), Cucurbita digitata (calabazilla), and Cucurbita palmata (coyote melon). These plants produce gourds and form large, fleshy, tuber-like roots. Some species, however, are native to South America, including Cucurbita pepo.