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COURGETTE

ZUCCHINI

Cucurbita pepo

Marrow Family [Cucurbitaceae]

month8jul month8july month8aug

category
category8Crops
category
category8Climbers
category
category8Deciduous
status
statusZalien
flower
flower8yellow
morph
morph8actino
petals
petalsZ5
type
typeZtrumpet
stem
stem8round
stem
stem8ribbed

7th Aug 2007, arable field, nr Martin Mere, Lancashire. Photo: © RWD
A low plant with large orange-yellow flowers.


12th Aug 2005, arable field, nr Scarisbrick, Lancashire. Photo: © RWD
Leaves can be fairly large too, and many-lobed, but somewhat variable (variability might reflect differing varieties of Courgette).


7th Aug 2007, arable field, nr Martin Mere, Lancashire. Photo: © RWD
Flower is trumpet-shaped with five triangular petals.


7th Aug 2007, arable field, nr Martin Mere, Lancashire. Photo: © RWD
Un-open flower bud lower left showing the five long and very narrow sepals behind the flower. Flowers curl over when pollinated (upper left).


10th Aug 2012, garden, Sheldon, Derbyshire. Photo: © RWD
When pollinated, the ovary expands and greatly lengthens into the familiar Courgette leaving the remnants of the flower at the apex either curled over and ready to drop off altogether. There are separate male and female flowers on the same plant, both a similar shape and colour but the male is slightly smaller than the female. The female flowers grow on the ends of the fruit, as here, the male flowers grow in the leaf axils but none can be seen in the photographs.


10th Aug 2012, garden, Sheldon, Derbyshire. Photo: © RWD
The courgettes start off light-green with facets, but darken with age.


10th Aug 2012, garden, Sheldon, Derbyshire. Photo: © RWD
Leaf-stems are ribbed. Nearby hear-shaped leaves are probably Jack by the Hedge.


10th Aug 2012, garden, Sheldon, Derbyshire. Photo: © RWD
The Cougettes may have light-green speckled spots on them. Leaf stems with very short hairs almost like stubble.


10th Aug 2012, garden, Sheldon, Derbyshire. Photo: © RWD
The epicentre of a plant. Several Courgettes in the frame.


20th Aug 2012, garden, nr Oldham, Lancashire. Photo: © Elizabeth Whatmough
The flowers have a central yellow pillar.


20th Aug 2012, garden, nr Oldham, Lancashire. Photo: © Elizabeth Whatmough
Petals are fringed and hairy (with yellow hairs).


20th Aug 2012, garden, nr Oldham, Lancashire. Photo: © Elizabeth Whatmough
The underside of the petals is deeply ribbed but only seen when the flower has curled over.


10th Aug 2012, garden, Sheldon, Derbyshire. Photo: © Elizabeth Whatmough
Leaves multi-lobed and quite variable even on the same plant.


10th Aug 2012, garden, Sheldon, Derbyshire. Photo: © RWD
An un-typical leaf.


13th Sept 2012, home, kitchen. Photo: © RWD
A Courgette sliced perpendicularly showing the flesh.


Slight resemblance to : Pumpkin and Marrow.

Uniquely identifiable characteristics

Distinguishing Feature :

Cucurbita pepo is the species name of a great many differing varieties of Marrows, including Courgette (Zucchini), Pumpkin, Naked seeded Pumpkin, Field Pumpkin, Acorn Squash, Summer Squash, Spaghetti Squash and Marrow. All these are cultivated varieties of Cucurbita pepo of which Marrow is the only one listed by Clive Stace as growing wild but casual mostly in Southern Britain.

Pumpkin and Winter Squashh come under the species Cucurbita maxima; Cucumber, under the Cucurbita sativa species, Butternut Squash and 'Dickinson' Pumpkin under Cucurbita moschata which are both slightly different. There are at least a dozen other species under the Cucurbita genus. All belong to the Marrow Family (Cucurbitaceae).

Like all members of the Marrow Family they can contain bitter toxins called Cucurbaticins. These are not usually a problem in edible fruit because their concentration is low, but the occasional older specimen (which have darker green skins) can taste a little bitter because of these toxic alkaloids.

Courgettes are used as a vegetable, in savoury dishes, but are in fact the fruit of the plan; the greatly enlarged ovary of the flower, which can grow to a metre in length, but are seldom allowed to, being harvested when fresher at a maximum of 50cm, usually much less. This minimises the amount of Cucurbaticin toxins, which are also minimised by being bred out of cultivated plants. It originated in America and later developed in Italy, hence the secondary name 'Zucchini'.

Perhaps the most well known dish containing courgettes is rattatouille, a french dish also containing tomatoes, bell-peppers and onions.

The large yellow flowers are reminiscent of those of Yellow Horned-Poppy (Glaucium flavum) but those have but four petals.


  Cucurbita pepo  ⇐ Global Aspect ⇒ Cucurbitaceae  

Distribution
 family8Marrow family8Cucurbitaceae

 BSBI maps
genus8Cucurbita
Cucurbita
(Marrows)

COURGETTE

ZUCCHINI

Cucurbita pepo

Marrow Family [Cucurbitaceae]