Fluted pumpkin (Telfaria occidentalis Hook.)
The fluted pumpkin, Telfaria occidentalis (Hook), is a tropical cucurbit, a member of a large family, the Cucurbitaceae, which includes gourds, pumpkins, squashes and melons. The botany of the crop has been described by Okoli and Mgbeogu (1983). The fluted pumpkin is a fast-growing, climbing annual which bears heavy fruits that are fluted or furrowed. The creeping stem may bear two or more fruits. Fruits take 5 months to mature and may weigh up to 10 kg. Small fruits weigh 2–5 kg. Fruits contain many seeds, small fruits containing up to 30 seeds, large fruits up to 70 seeds and very large fruits contain up to 100 seeds. Okoli and Mgbeogu (1983) report fruits measuring 105 cm in length and containing 196 seeds. They observe that the seeds are dark red in colour, non-endospermic and quite large in size, measuring 3.3–4.9 cm from end to end. Estimates of seed yield of fluted pumpkin in southern Nigeria are 2.5–3 tonnes/ha (Nwokolo and Sim, 1987). Seeds are cooked and eaten when mature. The young leaves form a very delicious vegetable when cooked, and are eaten in a variety of dishes.
KeywordsZinc Fermentation Phosphorus Starch Magnesium
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