Plant Name: Cucurbita maxima Duchesne
Marathi: Bhopla/ Bhopala/ Dangar/ Dongarbhaji
Hindi: Laal kaddu, Kashiphal
English: Pumpkin, Winter Squash
Jawhar: Bhopla/ Bhopala/ Dangar/ Dongarbhaji
Interesting facts and history
The fruit has Guinness World Record on its name, the fruit weighed 1,054 kg and was grown by Beni Meier (Switzerland) and authenticated by the Great Pumpkin Commonwealth (GPC) in Ludwigsburg, Germany, on 12 October 2014.
0.2 – 0.6 m tall, with individuals up to 10 m in length. Creeping pubescent herb with alternate leaves and coiled, branched tendrils
Simple round leaves with cordate base and obtuse apex
The flowers are monoecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but both sexes can be found on the same plant) and are pollinated by Insects.The plant is self-fertile.
Habit / Habitat
It is a climber and widely cultivated plant with terrestrial habitat. Light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) and well-drained soil is suitable for its growth. Suitable pH is acidic to neutral. It can grow in semi-shade or no shade. It prefers moist soil and is a drought tolerant plant.
1) Availability of the plant species in India: It is cultivated all over India mostly in tropical and temperate zones.
2) Global distribution: Origination is reported in South America 4000 years ago from the wild Cucurbita andreana, secondary canters of diversity include India, Bangladesh, Burma, and possibly the southern Appalachians.
World wide use Fruits, Leaves, Seeds
Used by tribal community in Jawhar Fruits
Fruits are boiled and cooked as a vegetable.
Kaddu Soya ki Sabzi (6 servings)
2 cups peeled red pumpkin (bhopla / kaddu) cubes, 1/2 cup soaked and chopped soya chunks, 2 tsp oil, 1 tsp mustard seeds ( rai / sarson), 1/2 tsp fenugreek (methi) seeds, 1 tsp nigella seeds (kalonji), 2 bayleaves (tejpatta), 1 small stick cinnamon (dalchini), 2 cloves (laung / lavang), 2 cardamoms, 1/4 tsp asafoetida (hing), 1/2 cup chopped tomatoes, 1 tsp chilli powder, 1/2 tsp turmeric powder (haldi), 2 tsp coriander-cumin seeds (dhania-jeera) powder, salt to taste
1/2 tsp sugar, 1 tsp lemon juice
- Heat the oil in a non-stick kadhai and add the mustard seeds (Rai), fenugreek (Methi) seeds, nigella seeds, bayleaves, cinnamon, cloves and cardamom.
- When the mustard seeds crackle, add the soya chunks and sauté on a medium flame for 1 minute.
- Add the asafoetida and sauté on a medium flame for a few seconds.
- Add the tomatoes, chilli powder, turmeric powder and coriander-cumin seeds powder and sauté on a medium flame for 1 minute.
- Add the red pumpkin cubes, salt, sugar and 1¾ cups of water and mix well. Cover with a lid and cook on a medium flame for 10 to 12 minutes or till the pumpkin gets cooked, while stirring occasionally.
- Add the lemon juice and mix well. Serve hot.
Nutritional and medicinal information
- Flour of Cucurbita maxima had been tested for its nutritional and anti-nutritional compositions. The results also showed that the seeds of C. maxima contain carbohydrates 24.30%, fats 51.49%, and proteins 16.80%. The major mineral contents were potassium 39.00 ppm, sodium 11.50 ppm, and calcium 15.00 ppm. It also consists of zinc 0.084 ppm and iron 0.032 ppm. The proximate and mineral compositions suggest that the seeds could be a potential source of carbohydrate, fats, protein, and micro- and macro minerals and may find use as human food or for incorporation into livestock feed
- Pumpkin (Cucurbita maxima) seed oil is found to consist of fatty acids such as oleic, linoleic, and palmitic acids, in tocopherols with a predominance of δ-tocopherol along with six phenolic acids (protocatechuic, caffeic, syringic, vanillic, p-coumaric and ferulic). The above mentioned properties prove it as a valuable source for new multi-purpose products for industrial, cosmetic, and pharmaceutical utilisation.
- Antidiabetic activity of methanol extract of aerial parts of Cucurbita maxima (MECM) was being evaluated on Wistar albino rats against streptozotocin (50 mg kg-1, i.p.,) at the doses of 200 and 400 mg/kg, p.o. for 14 days. Through different biochemical and histopathological studies it was concluded that MECM supplementation is quite beneficial in controlling the blood glucose level. In addition, it possesses potent antioxidant properties, which is useful to reduce the oxidative stress in diabetes and hence may have a protective role on complications associated with diabetes
The sprouting seed is reported to produce a toxic substance in its embryo, however its impact on human beings and other loving organisms is not known.
Harvesting and preserving
Fruits can be directly harvested.
Fruits can be stored in dried and powdered form
Propagation and Storage
Season of collection
The plant flowers from July to September, and the seeds ripen from August to October.
How to grow it?
Seed - sow early to mid-spring Sow 2 or 3 seeds per pot and thin out to the best plant to plant it in outdoors. The germination would occur in 2 weeks.
Method of storage: 1) Seeds
- A nourishing face-mask can be made from the fruit that is effective for dry skins