Cross-Pollination Question

mo_girlMarch 28, 2008

I am planning to grow an edible gourd ... cucuzzi (Lagenaria siceraria, I believe). I am also wanting to grow butternut squash (c. moschata), trailing green marrow (c. pepo), buttercup squash (c. maxima).

I thought I could grow these together, and save seed true to the original plants, but someone told me gourds mix with squash. I didn't know if this is all squash or just one particular group. I figured you might be the group that could tell me if this is true.

Thanks for any help you could give.

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The Lagenaria siceraria will not cross with anything other than another Lagenaria siceraria. Many of the ornamental gourds are squash ( C. pepo) which is where all the crossing stories come in. C. moschata and C. Pepo do not cross. There have been some C. moschata- C.maxima hybrids so under some circumstances they will cross.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2008 at 8:58PM
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I agree with what farmerdilla has said except that C. moschata and C. pepo can cross. You should look into hand pollination, it is very easy and definitely worthwhile if you want to save seeds.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2008 at 9:56PM
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Theoretically possible, but I have grown acorns and butternuts side by side and never had it happen. Nor are there any C.pepo - C moschata hybrids that I am aware. The Japanese have created C. moschata - C. maxima hybrids.

Here is a link that might be useful: Cross pollination Tables

    Bookmark   March 29, 2008 at 2:51PM
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Well a book I have in front of me suggests otherwise. Also here is a pdf on cross pollination that also says otherwise. And if you search google scholar for "cucurbit + cross pollination" the first link you will find is Rationale and Methods for Producing Hybrid Cucurbit Seed , which also suggests that the cross is possible and that C. moschata and C. pepo should be isolated when saving seed.

Farmerdilla, we can agree to disagree and that is fine, but hopefully we can both agree that to save seeds mo_girl should hand pollinate and cover flowers to avoid any contamination.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2008 at 6:03PM
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Thanks for your helpful responses.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2008 at 11:24AM
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I've grown c. pepo and c. moschata side by side for over 25 years with not a single cross occurring. What I've understood is that the two can be cross, but only under forced conditions in which a breeder eliminates the possibility of same species pollination, forcing the plants to accept the cross or produce no seed at all.

So for practical purposes, a home gardener can assume that c. pepo and c. moschata will not cross. C. moschata and c. maxima apparently cross more readily. Yet, when I spoke with Glenn Drowns about it, a couple of years ago, he indicated that this kind of cross is usually associated with certain abnormal conditions. It is not the norm.

At any rate MO_girl's plan should work. She should be able to save seed and it is highly unlikely that she will get a cross. What she is describing is a planting scheme that has been followed by quite a few seed savers, for many years; which except in very rare circumstances works quite well.

Tahlequah, OK

    Bookmark   April 1, 2008 at 11:43AM
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