One of the oldest domesticated species. Pepo derives from the Greek pepon, meaning ‘ripened by the sun.’ They have hard 5-sided ribbed stems, and fruits are usually ribbed. They also include summer squashes and small gourds, as well as some pumpkins.
Ornamental gourds avg, 500 seeds/oz; Luffa avg 280 seeds/oz; Hardshell gourds avg 120–200 seeds/oz. Gourds come in two major categories (Luffa is a third). The small ones are Cucurbita pepo var. ovifera, known as ornamental gourds for their variety of shapes, colors and surfaces. These vigorous viners will usually mature in our climate if direct-seeded. The larger ones are Lagenaria siceraria or hardshell gourds, named from the Greek lagenos, ‘a flask,’ and sicera, ‘an intoxicating drink.’ Lagenaria, though lacking the color range of their smaller cousins, fascinate with their magical shapes.