Cucurbita pepo L.
Cucumis pepo (L.) Dumort., Citrullus variegatus Schrad. ex M.Roem., Cucurbita aurantia Willd., Cucurbita clodiensis Nocca, Cucurbita elongata Bean ex Schrad., Cucurbita fastuosa Salisb., Cucurbita grisea M.Roem., Cucurbita lignosa Mill., Cucurbita pomiformis M.Roem., Cucurbita oblonga Link, Cucurbita pyxidaris DC., Cucurbita variegata Steud., Cucurbita verrucosa L.
English : Field pumpkin, Marrow, Pumpkin, Hindi : Kudimah, Lauka, Petha, Safed kaddu, Sanskrit : Karkaru, Kurkaru, Kushmanda, Kushmandi, Kusmanda, Kannada : Bileegumbala, Boodagumbala, Malayalam : Kumpalam, Kumpalanna, Marathi : Bhopli, Kohala, Tamil : Parangi Telugu : Budadegummadi, Budide-gummadi, Bengali : Safed kaddu.
It is native to North America (northeastern Mexico and the southern USA). It is an annual herb with climbing, creeping, or in some varieties bushy, 5-angled stems up to 15 m long. The stems are scabrous and setose, branching, often rooting at the nodes. The petioles are setose, grooved, 6-24 cm long, and estipulate. The plant bears tendrils borne at 90 degrees to the leaf insertion, which are coiled, and 1-6-branched. The leaves are simple, alternate, broadly ovate to deltoid, basally cordate, apically acute, palmately lobed with 5-7 lobes, marginally toothed, scabrous, palmately veined, 20-30 cm long, and 10-35 cm broad. The plant has solitary, flowers borne in leaf axils. The male flowers have stalks 7-20 cm long, a bell-shaped sepal cup of 9-12 mm, linear sepals 1.2-2.5 cm long. Flowers are tubular/bell-shaped, 5-10 cm long, which are divided into five petals for up to one-third or more of its length. Flowers have three stamens. The female flowers have sturdy stalks, 2-5 cm long. the ovary is round, ovoid, cylindrical, smooth, and the sepal cup is very small. The fruit is very variable in size and shape. The seeds are broadly elliptical or ovate, from 15 to 23 mm. in length and from 2 to 3 mm. in thickness; externally yellowish-white, very smooth, occasionally with thin, transparent fragments of adhering pulp and with a shallow groove parallel to and within 1 mm. of the margin; fracture short, seed-coat consisting of a white coriaceous outer layer and a membranous inner layer occasionally of a dark green color; embryo whitish, straight, with a small conical hypocotyl and two plano-convex cotyledons.
Its contains 30 % unsaturated fixed oil (which includes linoleic and oleic fatty acids). The Seeds contain Cucurbitacins, Vitamins and Minerals. Seeds also contain iron, B vitamins and trace minerals. Pumpkin seed contains amino acids (cucurbitin), 1% phytosterols in free and bound forms, squalene, chlorophyll pigments (chlorophyll b and pheophytin a), 4% minerals including selenium, zinc, calcium, copper, iron, manganese, phosphorous and potassium, 30% pectins.
Guna : Laghu, Ruksha, Rasa : Tikta, Vipaka : Katu, Virya : Ushna,
Kushta, Raktadosha, Sotha, Prameha.
It is used for treating bladder irritation, kidney infections, kidney stones and treat other problems of the urinary system, and trouble urinating due to benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). It is also used for treat hypertension, alleviate prostate discomforts, or applied to erysipelas skin infection, skin inflammations intestinal worms, headaches and neuralgia.