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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.

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

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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!

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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.

 

 

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