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CUCURBITA argyrosperma 'Campeche'

Image of Cucurbita argyrosperma 'Campeche'

Jessie Keith

Family

Cucurbitaceae

Botanical Name

CUCURBITA argyrosperma 'Campeche'

Plant Common Name

Campeche Squash, Squash

Special Notice

This entry has yet to be reviewed and approved by L2G editors.

General Description

Beautiful fruits that mimic the look of small watermelons, the Campeche squash isn't consumed in like manner, if at all. This sprawling, warm-season annual vine originates from Mesoamerica - from Mexico to Costa Rica. Botanists believe Cucurbita argyrosperma was first cultivated about 7,000 years ago in southern Mexico. Know more commonly as a winter squash, 'Campeche' abundantly produces rounded to slightly teardrop-shaped fruits. The skin is ivory-white, with dark green streaks and netting in an attractive pattern. Underripe fruits have pale green skin before becoming white with the dark green stripes. Fruits are about cantaloupe-size and weigh 4 to 8 pounds (2 to 3.5 kg). Once seeds are sown, it takes 100 to 120 days before fruits are ready for harvest.

These creeping or climbing plants can grow quickly to a very large size, and are covered with broadly oval to heart-shaped green leaves. Each leaf is coarse, hairy and can irritate the skin. Like most cucurbits, separate male and female flowers appear on the same plant. These blossoms are large, golden yellow to orange, trumpet-shaped and pollinated by bees. The male flowers open first on the vine, followed by the female flowers, distinguished by bulbous ovaries at their bases which develop into mature fruits following pollination.

Directly sow 'Campeche' seeds into small mounds of rich, porous soil when the danger of frost has passed. A warm, moist soil is needed, and a long growing season for good growth and complete fruit development and maturation on the vine. Full sun is required. To reduce the risk of fungal problems, avoid unnecessary wetting of vine stems and leaves. Monitor closely for stem borers (although this squash species seems to be naturally resistant to damage), leaf bugs and beetles. As fruits mature in autumn, deer, birds and rodents may browse them, so protect as needed. Mature winter squashes should be harvested before heavy frosts when their color is solid, the rinds firm, and the vines begin to brown and die back. Cut carefully from the vine, leaving a short stem for easy handling and to discourage fruit rot. Take care not to cut or bruise the skin, and store the fruit in a cool, dry, frost-free location.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    12 - 1

  • Sunset Zone

    A1, A2, A3, H1, H2, 1a, 1b, 2a, 2b, 3a, 3b, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24

  • Plant Type

    Vegetable

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun

  • Height

    1'-2' / 0.3m - 0.6m

  • Width

    10'-16' / 3.0m - 4.9m

  • Bloom Time

    Indeterminate

  • Native To

    Mexico, Central America

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Neutral

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Loam

  • Growth Rate

    Fast

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit

    Prostrate/Trailing

  • Seasonal Interest

    Summer, Fall

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    Yellow, Gold

  • Fruit Color

    White, Dark Green

  • Fruit Color Modifier

    Bicolor, Striped/Striated

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green, Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green, Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Green, Dark Green

  • Fragrant Flowers

    Yes

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    Yes

  • Showy Fruit

    Yes

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    No

  • Foliage Texture

    Coarse

  • Foliage Sheen

    Matte

  • Evergreen

    No

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Herb / Vegetable, Tropical, Vine

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Self-Sowing

    Yes