Cucurbita / Gourd
Common Name: Gourd
The North American native bee genus, Peponapis (squash bee), is a specialist of squash blossoms, collecting pollen only from plants in the squash family. Many home gardeners grow summer and winter squash, as they are relatively easy to cultivate in many parts of the United States. Yet, what many gardeners may not realize, is that the squash fruit will never develop on their plants without visitation by bees. Since cucurbits produce separate male and female flowers, they are entirely dependent upon bees to transfer the pollen from the male to the female flower.
Distributed throughout North America, other than the northwest and north central United States and western Canadian provinces
Routinely available and easily grown in moderate to warm climates across the United States. The species Cucurbita pepo, or field pumpkin, includes zucchini and pumpkin squashes, which are easily cultivated by home gardeners.
Annual: pumpkins and squash
Mid to late summer
Average to dry
Cucurbita pepo (field pumpkin), which includes pumpkins as well as zucchini and other varieties of summer squash, is native to the southern part of the United States, from coast to coast and to the Eastern provinces of Canada. Zucchini is one of the easiest vegetables to cultivate in temperate climates and is, therefore, a popular choice for home gardens. The blossoms of zucchini and other summer squash, so sought after by squash bees, are also a culinary delicacy. Harvesting the flowers can also prevent over-production of the squash fruit, which can sometimes be a problem.
Cucurbita maxima (winter squash) is not native to North America but has been introduced sporadically across the United States.
Cucurbita foetidissima (Missouri gourd) is a North American, perennial species, which is distributed throughout the western, southwestern and midwestern United States. Since it is not commonly harvested for food in the U.S., commercial availability of this species may be limited. Missouri gourd has the potential, however, of being a crop adapted to arid to semiarid lands, providing a vital alternative food source for people in these regions.