• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education skip experiences global resources cider press projects digital market permies.com pie forums private forums all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • Anne Miller
  • jordan barton
  • Pearl Sutton
  • Steve Thorn
  • Leigh Tate
  • r ranson
  • paul wheaton
stewards:
  • Nicole Alderman
  • Greg Martin
  • Mike Haasl
master gardeners:
  • John F Dean
gardeners:
  • Carla Burke
  • Jay Angler
  • Nancy Reading

Ozark Wild Squash

 
pollinator
Posts: 319
Location: Dayton, Ohio
94
forest garden foraging urban food preservation fiber arts ungarbage
  • Likes 10
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Although I live in southwest ohio, I got the opportunity to visit a monastery just west of Tahlequah (Our Lady of Clear Creek) in the foothils of the Ozarks in Oklahoma last Summer. I found some wild squash while I was there. Unfortunately, I picked the squash before they were ripe and none of the seeds were viable. I was wondering if any members here from the Ozarks area were familiar with wild squash (Cucurbita pepo ssp. ozarkana). From my experience, the wild squash I found were bitter, soapy, and high in cucurbitacins. The squash were also yellow, smooth skinned and about the size of yellow crookneck squash. Other pictures I have seen of wild ozark squash show tan-white oviform or pyriform fruits about the size of a large goose egg. Some are even green with white stripes like Tennesse spinning gourds. I ended up buying some Ozark nest egg gourds from Baker Creek, but I wanted to know if anyone else from around the Ozarks has any pictures of them or any knowledge of them. Unlike buffalo gourd (Cucurbita foetidissima), these wild squash are closely related to crookneck squash and acorn squash and often freely hybridize with them. Below is a picture of the squash I found last Summer at the monastery.
2DF272A5-3F67-48A4-9865-DE8CECAAB85D.jpeg
Cucurbita pepo ozarkana
Cucurbita pepo ozarkana
 
steward
Posts: 2741
Location: Maine, zone 5
1321
2
forest garden trees food preservation solar wood heat homestead
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Wow!  Never heard of these.  Thank you Ryan.  If anyone has seeds to share please put me on the list.  I want to see how they do and make some intentional crosses badly!
 
Greg Martin
steward
Posts: 2741
Location: Maine, zone 5
1321
2
forest garden trees food preservation solar wood heat homestead
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Looks like it also goes by the name Johnny Gourd.
 
Greg Martin
steward
Posts: 2741
Location: Maine, zone 5
1321
2
forest garden trees food preservation solar wood heat homestead
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator


I'm going to order some from Baker Creek right now and this year the crossing can begin!  I'm going to be growing it this year interplanted with Costata Romanesco zucchini as well as by itself.
 
Ryan M Miller
pollinator
Posts: 319
Location: Dayton, Ohio
94
forest garden foraging urban food preservation fiber arts ungarbage
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I need to warn you though. Some wild squash can be toxic and very bitter. The seeds can still be eaten though if properly soaked and processed.
 
Greg Martin
steward
Posts: 2741
Location: Maine, zone 5
1321
2
forest garden trees food preservation solar wood heat homestead
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
My assumption is that the toxic compounds are bitter and breeding out bitter taste will be sufficient safety.  But I will double check on that before eating anything.  Thank you Ryan!
 
Greg Martin
steward
Posts: 2741
Location: Maine, zone 5
1321
2
forest garden trees food preservation solar wood heat homestead
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Ryan, you don't by any chance have a picture of what they look like cut open, do you?
 
Ryan M Miller
pollinator
Posts: 319
Location: Dayton, Ohio
94
forest garden foraging urban food preservation fiber arts ungarbage
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Unfortunately, I didn't get a picture of the inside of the squash flesh I collected. Aaron Thatcher on Youtube does have pictures of the inside of one of the wild squashes he collected on Facebook. I'm waiting for him to answer whether or not I can share his images here. The squash Aaron Thatcher found has a hard shell when fully ripe and 1/4-1/3 inch thick rind. They seem to be a semi-domesticated, feral, or escaped non-bitter ornamental gourd or small vining summer squash. When fully dry, the squash resemble small bottle gourds (Lagenaria siceraria).

The squash I found at the monastery near Tahlequah when I picked them had a thick 1/3-1/2 inch bitter rind. Although the plant was vining, they may have been an F2 cross with crookneck summer squash growing in the garden nearby since they were large and yellow. There was no air space between the seeds and the rind. I'm assuming if I had picked them later, they would be eighteen inches to two feet long and have had a hard shell that must be pierced with a large carving knife or cleaver.
 
Greg Martin
steward
Posts: 2741
Location: Maine, zone 5
1321
2
forest garden trees food preservation solar wood heat homestead
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I really like the idea of creating "wild" zucchinis that climb trees and spread by self seeding.  Then people who complain about zucchinis will really have something to complain about!!!  :)

It will be interesting to see if the Ozark wild squash will be able to self seed here in Maine for me and to see how many generations it will take to get the best traits from both parents.  I'm going to try and maintain a decent sized gene pool from both parents.  I'll have to do a bit of reading to decide on how many plants of each to start with and collect seeds from.  Anyone have any suggestions?  Maybe 12 of each?  I'm going to buy the  Costata Romanesco zucchini seeds from several suppliers for the interplanting.
 
Ryan M Miller
pollinator
Posts: 319
Location: Dayton, Ohio
94
forest garden foraging urban food preservation fiber arts ungarbage
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Accordung to the BONAP plant atlas, wild or escaped populations of Cucurbita pepo have been reported as far north as Coos county in New Hampshire in the US. Here is the link to the current map as of 2014:
http://bonap.net/MapGallery/County/Cucurbita%20melopepo.png
Cucurbita pepo usually only needs 90-110 days to yield mature fruit. That should be well withing a 120 day frost-free growing season should you happen to be in Northern Maine. I've read somewhere that wild squash used to be dispersed by extinct megafauna, like mastodons and ground sloths, before the animals went extict. In the Ozarks, wild squash spreads nowadays by floating down river during flood season and washing up on a new dry creek bed.
 
Ryan M Miller
pollinator
Posts: 319
Location: Dayton, Ohio
94
forest garden foraging urban food preservation fiber arts ungarbage
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Another plant to consider interplanting with wild ozark squash would be yellow crookneck squash. I remember reading somewhere that it might be the closest related domesticated edible cultivar of Cucurbita pepo to wild Ozark squash. The only problem is that the fully mature fruits are too tough to use as food other than the toasted seeds.

I plan on trying to cross Aaron Thatcher's strain of wild squash from east Tennessee with crookneck squash to get a vining Summer Squash with larger fruits. Below are some images of Aaron Thatchers wild squash. His squash might have been domesticated at some point because the mature fruits are not bitter:
816A09D9-E065-4CED-982C-21A0598498E0.jpeg
Mature fruits
Mature fruits
A83B1D88-441B-4EC7-BB8B-D2CD27644C7F.jpeg
Original wild fruits
Original wild fruits
61F28E1E-0EE0-4A51-B49D-EC739EED979E.jpeg
Inside flesh and seeds
Inside flesh and seeds
369AD6F2-F6B0-476F-86E3-B3053709F2FF.jpeg
Young fruits ready to harvest
Young fruits ready to harvest
362AAC15-5A83-45D2-985F-2F59238A852B.jpeg
Fully dry squash
Fully dry squash
DAF54A0A-5D85-4ED2-8656-423C796E18FE.jpeg
[Thumbnail for DAF54A0A-5D85-4ED2-8656-423C796E18FE.jpeg]
Notice the long stem
 
Greg Martin
steward
Posts: 2741
Location: Maine, zone 5
1321
2
forest garden trees food preservation solar wood heat homestead
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thank you for all the great pics Ryan.  I'll do my best to try and track down the Coos county squash.  I live very close to there.
 
Ryan M Miller
pollinator
Posts: 319
Location: Dayton, Ohio
94
forest garden foraging urban food preservation fiber arts ungarbage
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I you really want to go hunting for wild squash in Coos County, New Hampshire, according to the New England Plant Atlas, specimens of Cucurbita pepo were collected in the southern part of Coos county. It looks like the closest town to the fuzzy dot on the map is Gorham. There are several rivers near the town. I wouldn't be surprised if the squash plants were found growing by one of the rivers. I've never been to the area so I don't know exactly where to find them or if they're even still there. Here is the link to the website with the map:
http://neatlas.org/c.html#CUCURBITA
 
Greg Martin
steward
Posts: 2741
Location: Maine, zone 5
1321
2
forest garden trees food preservation solar wood heat homestead
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thank you very much with your help on this.  I'm doing a bit more digging hoping to find some more specifics on the data that created the dots in NH and VT.  If there's still feral self-seeding population up there I'd really like to find it this fall and respectfully collect some seeds for grow out evaluations.  Fingers crossed.  Worst case it's a good excuse to spend a little time there at a nice time of the year :)
 
Ryan M Miller
pollinator
Posts: 319
Location: Dayton, Ohio
94
forest garden foraging urban food preservation fiber arts ungarbage
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I was hoping someone else had some experience with wild squash from the Ozark region. I've seen at leat two  threads about buffalo gourds (Cucurbita foetidissima), but none on wild Ozark squash yet. It looks like one forum user from Arkansas, Judith Browning, commented about wild Ozark squash on one of the threads on buffalo gourds though. I sent her a purple mooseage just now.
 
Posts: 7974
Location: Ozarks zone 7 alluvial,black,deep clay/loam with few rocks, wonderful creek bottom!
1742
3
  • Likes 5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Ryan M Miller wrote:I was hoping someone else had some experience with wild squash from the Ozark region. I've seen at leat two  threads about buffalo gourds (Cucurbita foetidissima), but none on wild Ozark squash yet. It looks like one forum user from Arkansas, Judith Browning, commented about wild Ozark squash on one of the threads on buffalo gourds though. I sent her a purple mooseage just now.



Hi Ryan, I had to find the thread you mention to see what I said  I don't remember seeing anything like the wild squash in the images in your thread here.  What we have locally that I've run across anyway is definitely buffalo gourds (Cucurbita foetidissima) as in Tyler's thread Buffalo Gourd Here's what I said there....


We have something similar that we called egg gourds and picked when hard (and white) . I don't know genus and species and am not sure if we didn't make up the name. They were about 2 inches across, larger than a large egg. The kids would always gather them along the creek and bring them home to draw and paint on. Maybe we were missing out on a food source.



I haven't run across them in years...our old place had vines popping up in the front yard and we decorated the 'eggs' at a party once.  The young ones got into throwing and stomping them so I imagine they are everywhere now.

I wonder if the 'Ozark wild squash' is a Missouri Ozark native?

I'll ask around locally.
 
Ryan M Miller
pollinator
Posts: 319
Location: Dayton, Ohio
94
forest garden foraging urban food preservation fiber arts ungarbage
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Based on my past experience, squash typically ripens between August and October where I live in Ohio so I'd expect wild Ozark squash to ripen around the same time. For anyone foraging wild Cucurbita pepo, the peak season should be mid September, but wild fruits can stay on the plants through winter.
 
Ryan M Miller
pollinator
Posts: 319
Location: Dayton, Ohio
94
forest garden foraging urban food preservation fiber arts ungarbage
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
For anyone planning to forage for wild Cucurbita pepo squash in the Ozarks, the Mississippi River valley, or eastern Texas, I'm assuming the guidelines for picking garden squash might also apply. Usually cultivated Cucurbita pepo is harvested when the rind is no longer soft enough to pierce with a fingernail and the stem has dried up. By this time, the plant has often already died,  from powdery mildew or squash vine borer damage. I don't remember where, but I remember reading that it takes about 45-60 days for a Winter squash to fully mature. I have also seen photographs of dried out wild Ozark squash that have hard, woody rinds like the brown squash in the image above from Aaron Thatcher, so they may be able to stay on the vine for extended periods of time long after the plant has already died.

Keep in mind that truly wild squash are usually bitter and only the seeds can be eaten after proper preparation.
 
Ryan M Miller
pollinator
Posts: 319
Location: Dayton, Ohio
94
forest garden foraging urban food preservation fiber arts ungarbage
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Since I have just finished harvesting my ornamental gourds, I wouldn't be surprised if there are already ripe wild squash ready to harvest in the Ozark region and eastern Texas right now. I challenge anyone to figure out how to prepare the seeds of these wild squash so they can be eaten. Try looking in river floodplains and disturbed areas for the fruits of these squash. They should look like eggs or little pears. The plants should have palmate leaves rather than kite-shaped leaves seen on Cucurbita foetidissima.
 
Posts: 3
4
  • Likes 5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I know this is an old thread, but I thought I'd add what information I have.  

These are my wild squash.   I have no idea if they are Ozarkana or Texana sup species.   We live in the far southeast corner of Oklahoma, so they could be either or a cross between the two.  

I have tried raising from seed, but have not had any luck.   They seem to produce only a few plants despite having numerous fruits, so I'm not sure if they need some sort of stratification or if they have low seed fertility.     The fruits will be solid white when mature.    

They are bitter and form a very hard gourd like shell.   You literally have to crack with a hammer.  


IMG_20210916_184200.jpg
[Thumbnail for IMG_20210916_184200.jpg]
IMG_20210916_185137.jpg
[Thumbnail for IMG_20210916_185137.jpg]
IMG_20210916_184138(1).jpg
[Thumbnail for IMG_20210916_184138(1).jpg]
IMG_20210916_185210.jpg
[Thumbnail for IMG_20210916_185210.jpg]
 
Daylene Alford
Posts: 3
4
  • Likes 6
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
And these are my hybrids that I believe are crosses between these and yellow squash.     I kept seed back from a volunteer plant that showed up in my horse pasture, and these are 3 years in.   I have not controlled pollination.      Last year I grew the hybrids next to yellow squash again.   Seems like they may have crossed back in my garden.   Then the ones in the horse pasture have apparently crossed back again with the wild squash.   The white oval shape was bitter, but my horses figured out they were there and didn't seem to mind.      
   

The round ones with the yellow stripes make very hard shells.     Last year they were not bitter.      

Small yellow are not bitter will probably have hard shells.   They only came up late (after a bush hog went through) so we'll have to see how they do.  

IMG_20210815_144136.jpg
[Thumbnail for IMG_20210815_144136.jpg]
IMG_20210916_145929(1).jpg
[Thumbnail for IMG_20210916_145929(1).jpg]
IMG_20210916_145929.jpg
[Thumbnail for IMG_20210916_145929.jpg]
IMG_20210917_170723.jpg
[Thumbnail for IMG_20210917_170723.jpg]
IMG_20210917_170707.jpg
[Thumbnail for IMG_20210917_170707.jpg]
IMG_20210917_170755.jpg
[Thumbnail for IMG_20210917_170755.jpg]
IMG_20210917_170737.jpg
[Thumbnail for IMG_20210917_170737.jpg]
 
Don't count your weasels before they've popped. And now for a mulberry bush related tiny ad:
the permaculture bootcamp in winter (plus half-assed holidays)
https://permies.com/t/149839/permaculture-projects/permaculture-bootcamp-winter-assed-holidays
reply
    Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic