Why are the seeds of this species difficult? The seeds may have physiological dormancy, which can be overcome by mimicking the seasonal patterns of the species' native habitat.
Cucurbita pepo (Image: S. Wood, RBG Kew)
This species has Orthodox seeds - dry to 15-20% eRH and store at -20ºC, or as cool as possible.
Germinate on agar, germination paper or sand, under constant temperatures of 25 or 30ºC, or using an alternating temperature regime of 30/20ºC. It may be necessary to remove the testa before germination. Incubating the seeds in 24hr darkness may also help germination.
The seeds of this species may be Physiologically Dormant (based on other species in the same genus). If germination is low, this type of seed dormancy can be overcome by mimicking the seasonal patterns of the species' native habitat. Use a moist pre-chill or pre-heat treatment (depending on local climatic conditions) or a dry after-ripening treatment, before germinating the seeds on agar, germination paper or sand at their optimum temperature. If this does not work, you can perform delicate surgery to enable the embryo to grow. Excise the tissue near the root tip.
(Image: S. Wood, RBG Kew)
See more images of this species at the Digital Seed Atlas of the Netherlands .
Accepted name: Cucurbita pepo L.
Common name: marrow, pumpkin, squash
References and Links
- Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and International Plant Genetic Resources Institute (1994). Genebank Standards. FAO/IPGRI, Rome, Italy.
- International Seed Testing Association (2010). International Rules for Seed Testing: edition 2010. ISTA, Bassersdorf, Switzerland.
- Rao, N.K., Hanson, J., Dulloo, M.E., Ghosh, K., Nowell, D. and Larinde, M. (2006). Manual of seed handling in genebanks. Handbooks for Genebanks No. 8. Bioversity International, Rome, Italy.
- AFPD (African Flowering Plants Database) - Conservatoire et Jardin Botaniques de la Ville de Genève, Switzerland, and South African National Biodiversity Institute, Pretoria, RSA: Cucurbita pepo.
- AVRDC - The World Vegetable Centre, Taiwan: fact sheet on Cucurbita pepo.
- PROTAbase (Plant Resources of Tropical Africa) - Wageningen, Netherlands: Cucurbita pepo.
- SID (Seed Information Database) - Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, UK: Cucurbita pepo.
- Tropicos - Missouri Botanical Garden, USA: Cucurbita pepo.