Botany Photo of the Day
In science, beauty. In beauty, science. Daily.

January 18, 2017: Botany Photo of the Day is being actively worked on. Returning soon!

Cucurbita cultivars

Cucurbita cultivars
Cucurbita cultivars

A thank you to Monika (half of monika&manfred@Flickr) for submitting today's photographs taken in Vienna, Austria (original image 1 and original image 2). It's worth the time to browse Monika's photographs, particularly since she has photographs from her travels around the world.

The question to ask with cucurbits is, “What aren't they used for?” If you read The Wild and Wonderful World of Gourds from Wayne Armstrong, you'll learn members of this family were or are used for: food, medicine, ornament, a sweetener, currency, an art medium, containers and eating utensils, pipes, musical instruments and clothing – not a bad list!

I believe most, if not all, of the cucurbits in today's photographs have wild origins in Mexico and South America, though if the pale one is actually a melon (Cucumis melo) instead of a squash, it would have its origin in Africa or southwest Asia. Members of the family are found throughout the tropical, subtropical and warm temperate areas of the world.

As an aside, you'll recall how I mentioned Arbutus menziesii is oft a subject of photographers. For proof, see ngawangchodron's Arbutus menziesii – fifty photographs so far!


Beautiful!! abosultely beautiful!!! well done

and don't forget luffas (loofa) for sponges - see Wikipedia.

I have seen many of these growing and being used dried in central and south central Kentucky. In some isolated rural districts in that area without plumbing, they are used as a very large spoon would be used in buckets of water or a shallow water well, thereby earning their name of "dipper," e.g. "Would you like me to dip you a dipper-full to drink"?

Elisabeth F sent me a note suggesting that the pale cucurbit is likely the rounded end of a butternut squash – seems logical to me!

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