Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

Support the plant database you love!

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Sunday - June 10, 2012

From: Kyle, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Non-Natives, Edible Plants
Title: Possible non-native squash and gourd cross from Kyle TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Last year I gathered seeds from the yellow squash plants that were grown from a seed packet (hybrid, I assume). Well, now the fruit produced by those plants seems to be a cross between a yellow squash and a gourd: they're yellow, but are somewhat bumpy and have greenish tints in the skin. Are these perfectly healthy to eat? I can put them in the slow cooker for a day and they taste fine, but are they OK to eat in massive quantities ~ha!~?

ANSWER:

Because of its frequent hybridization, squash is not considered a plant native to North America, which is where Mr. Smarty Plants' expertise lies. However, here is a previous Mr.Smarty Plants question on the edibility of gourds. Growing anything from seeds gathered from a hybrid is always interesting. It might breed true, it might produce one or the other of the included hybrid strains or it might not reproduce at all. As we said, this vegetable is so intensively hybridized there is no knowing what the ancestry of your squash is.

We found several Internet sites that might help you decide what your plant is and whether it is entirely safe to eat it.

Cornell University Extension Please Don't Eat the Gourds

whatscooking america.net Types of Squash

Here is link to Wikipedia images on squash. You can move your cursor over a picture, which will enlarge it and when you click, it will take you to the website from which the picture came. Probably whether you go to the trouble of cooking what you have, or pull it all out as a mystery is entirely up to you. We don't think it is going to poison anyone.

 

 

More Non-Natives Questions

Problems with non-native Chinaberry tree from Tucson AZ
September 05, 2013 - I have a 30+ year old Chinaberry tree and this year the branches are much sparser with leaves and there are a lot of small dead branches. Should I fertilize and what should I use? Thank you
view the full question and answer

Problem with acanthus in Vancouver BC
May 16, 2010 - My girlfriend's Mom just planted an Acanthus in her garden. In the morning, it apparently stands up tall, but in the evening it bends over until the the leaves are lying in the dirt. She's concerned...
view the full question and answer

Planting distance for non-native crepe myrtles in San Antonio
June 23, 2009 - I just purchased 7 katawba crepe myrtles and would like to know how far apart I need to space them. I am placing down on the right side of my front yard. They are in 5 gallon containers and about 5 - ...
view the full question and answer

Sickly non-native plumerias in California
August 26, 2008 - I have 5 plumeria plants in pots, between 2-3 years old. The beginning of the summer they all looked great and now were looking pretty sick, pale/yellowing leaves, burned areas & spots. I have a long ...
view the full question and answer

Plant for a salt water pool in Australia
September 27, 2011 - What plant is a perfect plant for small areas around a salt water pool?
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.