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Telfairia occidentalis

Why are the seeds of this species difficult? This species has recalcitrant seeds, which have a high critical moisture content and will rapidly lose viability if they are dried.

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Seed Storage

This species has Recalcitrant seeds which cannot be dried without causing a decline in viability. Do not place the seeds under sub-zero temperatures as they will suffer from freezing damage due to their high moisture content.

The initial moisture content of the seeds is around 76% and their lower safe moisture content is between 40 and 60% mc. The seeds can be kept for up to 6 months inside the fruits. The fruits should be stored in a dry (but not cold) location.

Germination Requirements

Farmers normally leave the seeds under ambient conditions before germinating, to reduce their moisture content to 40-50%. This seems to avoid slow and irregular germination. Germinate preferably on sawdust, or use agar, germination paper or sand, at 25 to 30ºC.

The seeds of this species do not display dormancy.

Seed Morphology

The fruit are waxy, pale green and deeply ribbed, with a fibrous, pale yellow flesh. The seed are 4-5 x 3-4 cm and on average there are 60 seeds per fruit.

The wax starts to fade as the fruits mature, becoming darker green with stiffer ridges.

See images of this species at VIRBOGA (The Virtual Botanic Garden).



Accepted name: Telfairia occidentalis Hook.f.

Synonyms: none

Common name: fluted pumpkin

References and Links

  • Janick, J. and Paull, R.E. (eds) (2008). The Encyclopedia of Fruit and Nuts. CAB International, UK.
  • Schippers, R.R. (2000). African Indigenous Vegetables: an overview of the cultivated species. Natural Resources Insitute/ACP-EU Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation, Chatham, UK.
  • AFPD (African Flowering Plants Database) - Conservatoire et Jardin Botaniques de la Ville de Genève, Switzerland, and South African National Biodiversity Institute, Pretoria, RSA: Telfairia occidentalis.
  • PROTAbase (Plant Resources of Tropical Africa) - Wageningen, Netherlands: Telfairia occidentalis.
  • SID (Seed Information Database) - Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, UK: Telfairia occidentalis.
  • Tropicos - Missouri Botanical Garden, USA: Telfairia occidentalis.