Cucurbita pepo var. ovifera (93 days) Open-pollinated. Anyone who sees these tiny 2–3" adorable green-and-white striped bottle gourds falls in love with them. They generated quite a buzz at our Common Ground Fair booth exhibit. Junior Gordon of Primm Springs, TN, the original source for this delightful conversation piece, says these are better known as spinning gourds and advises us to select our seed crops for short, fairly thick straight necks and to rogue out those with the longer crooked necks that won’t spin as well.
Staffer Sarah Oliver has developed no small skill in transforming these into charming decorated containers to showcase and store small objects. To spin them “take the neck between your middle finger and thumb and snap your fingers with a quick action.” Kids in Tennessee used to bring them to school as toys. Rampant vines are extremely prolific producers of the small fruits. Hard shells dry to tan color. ②
1908 Tennessee Dancing Gourd
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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.
About 500 seeds/oz.
Days to maturity are from emergence after direct sowing.
These vigorous viners will usually mature their ornamental fruits in our climate if direct-seeded after danger of frost. Use wire hoops and row cover to keep out cucumber beetles.
All gourds are open-pollinated.
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.
For the latest results of our germination tests, please see the germination page.