CUCURBITA maxima 'Triamble'
Plant Common Name
The sculptural quality of 'Triamble' compliments more brightly colored, curvaceous squash and gourds in decorative arrangements. Its three-lobed fruits have thick bluish gray skin and exceptional keeping abilities. Specimens can survive in a cool, dry location for well over a year without rotting. Its dark orange flesh is firm, dry and sweet. This cultivar is believed to have been bred in Australia because it was first documented in an Australian seed catalog from 1918 (Anderson & Company, Sydney, Australia). Others suggest it is of European origin. It may also be sold under the names 'Tri Star' or 'Tristar' (particularly in France), 'Triamble Shamrock', 'Shamrock' or 'Triangle.'
Originating from South America, winter squash have been cultivated since ancient times by Native American peoples, and are prized today for both their culinary and decorative qualities. Most mature late in the season, and come in a variety of interesting shapes and festive colors.
The rambling stems of these warm season, annual vines bear large, golden yellow, trumpet shaped blossoms. Both male and female flowers appear on the same plant, and are pollinated by bees. The male flowers appear first, followed by the female flowers which can be recognized by the distinctive, bulbous ovaries at their bases.
Following pollination, the female flowers begin developing into fruits; these are often masked by the plant’s huge, bristly, lobed leaves. Fruit color, size and shape varies greatly depending on the cultivar, but all winter squash have hard rinds, firm flesh and edible seeds. The unusual blue-gray, three-lobed fruits of 'Triamble' are certainly some of the most unique. Some refer to these as "pumpkins", but sticklers consider true pumpkins to be cultivars of Cucurbita pepo.
Sow the seeds of winter squash directly in mounds of rich, light, well-drained soil after all danger of frost has passed. Full sun is required for successful flowering and fruiting. The days to harvest vary but usually revolve around 100 days. To reduce the risk of fungal problems, avoid unnecessary wetting of vine stems and leaves. Monitor closely for leaf bugs and beetles, and for stem borers at the bases of the vines. As fruits mature in autumn, deer, birds and rodents may browse them, so protect as needed.
Harvest winter squash before heavy frosts when fruit color is solid and rinds firm. Cut from the vines, leaving a length of stem attached to the fruit; this makes for easier handling and discourages fruit rot. Take care not to cut or bruise fruits, and store them in a cool, dry location.