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Found this in a garden in San Francisco. Can't decide if it's pomelo, capri lemon or something else, ideas?
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Melon, (Cucumis melo), trailing vine in the gourd family (Cucurbitaceae), grown for its often musky-scented edible fruit. The melon plant is native to central Asia, and its many cultivated varieties are widely grown in warm regions around the world. Most commercially important melons are sweet and eaten fresh, though some varieties can be made into preserves or pickled.
Melons are frost-tender annuals with soft hairy trailing stems and clasping tendrils. They bear large round to lobed leaves and yellow unisexual flowers about 2.5 cm (1 inch) across. Botanically, the fruits are a type of berry known as a pepo, and they vary greatly in size, shape, surface texture, and flesh colour and flavour, depending on the variety. They generally weigh 1–4 kg (2–9 pounds). Cantaloupes and netted melons are ripe when they give off a sweet fruity odour, at which time they “slip,” or break, readily at the union of fruit and stalk. Honeydews and casabas are ripe when they turn yellow, at which time they are cut from the vine. They are called the winter melons because they ripen late and mature slowly in storage for many weeks, becoming softer but not noticeably sweeter. Melon plants are susceptible to a number of diseases, including downy mildew, anthracnose, Fusarium wilt, and powdery mildew, though some varieties are more resistant than others.
Seven cultivar groups of melons are recognized:
Plants resembling true melons include the related watermelon (Citrullus lanatus) and Chinese watermelon, or wax gourd (Benincasa hispida), as well as the unrelated tree melon, or papaya (Carica papaya, family Caricaceae), and melon shrub, or pear melon (Solanum muricatum, family Solanaceae).
Cockleburs are coarse, herbaceous annual plants growing to 20–47 inches (51–119 cm) tall. The leaves are spirally arranged, with deeply toothed margins. Some species, notably Xanthium spinosum, are also very thorny with long, slender spines at the leaf bases. 
The flower heads are of two types One, in short terminal branches, produces only pollen. The other, in clusters in the axils of the leaves, produces seed. 
Unlike many other members of the family Asteraceae, whose seeds are airborne with a plume of silky hairs resembling miniature parachutes, cocklebur seeds are produced in a hard, spiny, globose or oval double-chambered, single-seeded bur 0.32–0.79 inches (0.81–2.01 cm) long. It is covered with stiff, hooked spines, which stick to fur and clothing and can be quite difficult to detach. These burs are carried long distances from the parent plant during seed dispersal by help of animals (zoochorous). 
Cockleburs are short-day plants, meaning they only initiate flowering when the days are getting shorter in the late summer and fall, typically from July to October in the Northern Hemisphere. They can also flower in the tropics where the daylength is constant. [ citation needed ]
Over 200 names have been proposed for species, subspecies, and varieties within the genus. Most of these are regarded as synonyms of highly variable species. Some recognize as few as two or three species in the genus. The Global Compositae Checklist recognizes the following
- Xanthium albinum(Widd.) Scholz & Sukopp – Mongolia
- Xanthium argenteumWidder – Chile
- Xanthium catharticumKunth – Chile, Bolivia, Argentina
- Xanthium cavanillesiiShouw – Argentina
- Xanthium inaequilaterumDC. – China, India, Southeast Asia
- Xanthium orientaleL. – Europe, North Africa, Middle East
- Xanthium pungensWallr. – Australia naturalized in Eurasia
- Xanthium saccharosum
- Xanthium spinosumL. – spiny cocklebur, burreed, Bathurst burr – very widespread, nearly cosmopolitan
- Xanthium strumariumL. – clotbur, rough cocklebur, large cocklebur, common cocklebur – very widespread, nearly cosmopolitan
The cocklebur is legally listed as a noxious weed in the states of Arkansas and Iowa in the United States of America. [ citation needed ]
The common cocklebur (Xanthium strumarium) is a native of North America. It has become an invasive species worldwide. It invades agricultural lands and can be poisonous to livestock, including horses, cattle, and sheep. Some domestic animals will avoid consuming the plant if other forage is present, but less discriminating animals, such as pigs, will consume the plants and then sicken and die. The seedlings and seeds are the most toxic parts of the plants. Symptoms usually occur within a few hours, producing unsteadiness and weakness, depression, nausea and vomiting, twisting of the neck muscles, rapid and weak pulse, difficulty breathing, and eventually death. [ citation needed ]
The plant also has been used for making yellow dye, hence the name of the genus (Greek xanthos = 'yellow'). The many species of this plant, which can be found in many areas, may actually be varieties of two or three species. The seed oil is edible. [ citation needed ]
Xanthium strumarium is known as cang er zi (苍耳子) in traditional Chinese medicine. Xanthium is also used to treat nasal and sinus congestion. 
The spines and seeds of this fruit are rich in a chemical called carboxyatractyloside (CAT), formerly referred to as xanthostrumarin, which is the chemical that is responsible for most of the adverse effects from the use of cang er zi. CAT has been shown to be a growth inhibitor in Xanthium and other plants, serving two functions, delaying seed germination and inhibiting the growth of other plants. Most of the chemical is concentrated in the spines. When the bur is prepared as an herbal remedy, the spines are usually removed, reducing the CAT content of the finished product. 
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Squash, (genus Cucurbita), genus of flowering plants in the gourd family (Cucurbitaceae), many of which are widely cultivated as vegetables and for livestock feed. Squashes are native to the New World, where they were cultivated by native peoples before European settlement. The fruit of edible species is usually served as a cooked vegetable, and the seeds and blossoms may also be cooked and eaten.
Summer squashes, such as zucchini, globe squash, pattypan, and yellow crookneck squash, are quick-growing, small-fruited, nontrailing or bush varieties of Cucurbita pepo. Plants are upright and spreading, 45 to 75 cm (18 to 30 inches) high, and produce a great diversity of fruit forms, from flattened, through oblong, to elongate and crooked fruits, coloured from white through cream to yellow, green, and variegated. Fruit surfaces or contours may be scalloped, smooth, ridged, or warty. The fruits develop very rapidly and must be harvested a few days after they form (before the seeds and rinds harden) and used soon after harvest. The rind is generally considered edible.
Winter squashes are vining, generally large-fruited, long-season plants that are characterized by fruits that can be stored many months (into wintertime) if kept dry and well above freezing. Common winter squashes include the butternut squash ( C. moschata), delicata, acorn, and spaghetti squashes (C. pepo), and buttercup squashes and giant pumpkins ( C. maxima). The fruits show a wide range of sizes, shapes, and colours the rinds are relatively harder than those for summer squash and are usually considered inedible.
25 Varieties of Melons (with Pictures)
Melon is a delicious fruit packed with nutrition. The term “melon” diversed in many different plants belong to the family Cucurbitaceae. Containing niacin, vitamin A, B6, C, potassium and their high water content, make it an excellence diuretic. Many species of melons are found, but they belong to four genera: Momordica, Benincasa, Citrulus, and Cucumis. Melons are usually fresh consumed, or used in juice, desserts, fruit salads, or custards. Melons are also comes in varieties. Here are the lists of melon varieties:
Types of melon – Watermelon. Image : jabbajuice.com
It’s a vine-like, flowering plant. It has a thick green skin along with a yellow, red, or orange fleshy center. Watermelon has rich in water content. They can grow into maximum around 90 kg. It is one of the most popular types of melons.
2. Cantaloupe Melon
Types of melon – Cantaloupe Melon. Image : farmerfoodshare.org
Cantaloupe is the most famous melon, especially in the US. Cantaloupe usually served as a fruit salad, a dessert with ice cream or custard. Its size ranges from 500 g to 5 kg.
3. Horned Melon
Types of melon – Horned Melon. Image : Wikipedia.org
This melon has unique horned skin. The taste is tart-like, a combination between and zucchini and cucumber. It has lime-green flesh and yellow-orange skin.
4. Crenshaw Melon
Types of melon – Crenshaw Melon
Curcumismelo is their Latin family’s name. It’s a hybrid type of melon with a sweet, juicy orange flesh. It’s ovoid in shape and greenish-yellow skin. This variety is very popular.
Types of melon – Honeydew Melon. Image : Wikipedia.org
It has sweet and juicy taste. Honeydew is popular well known fruit as a dessert ingredient. Its color is pale green and has a very smooth skin. The shape is round, sometimes oval, weighing from 1.5-4 kg.
Types of melon – Gac Melon. Image : Wikipedia
This is the Southeast Asian primary fruit. Unfortunately, Gac has limited stock due to their short harvest season. Gac’s seeds are rich in flavor and usually cooked with rice in Vietnam. Gac also has high nutrients that are famous beyond Asia.
7. Bitter Melon
Types of melon – Bitter Melon. Image : expatliving.sg
It’s called ”pare” in Indonesia. It is originated in Indian subcontinent. Bitter melon is vine grown in Carribbean, Africa and Asia. It has a very bitter taste, usually eaten as vegetable.
8. Winter Melon
Types of melon – Winter Melon
This variety didn’t grow in Arctic continent. It originated in Southeast Asia. It has very large fruits. They can grow up to 85 cm long. Winter melon is cultivated in South and East part of Asia nowadays.
9. Sprite Melon
Types of melon – Sprite Melon. Image : Wikipedia
Japan is the birthplace of this variety. It contains seeds and has a round shape. Sprite melon is 25-35% sweeter than the other melons. It has ivory skin and color. Sprite Melon develops brown markings when ripe.
10. Korean Melon
Types of melon – Korean Melon
It grows 10cm long and less than one kilogram. Korean melon is smaller than the other melons. It has white color flesh and unique flavor. The outer skin is yellow and white stripes along its length. It can be eaten at once.
11. Canary Melon
Types of melon – Canary Melon
The skin is as bright as a canary bird. It is a huge and bright yellow melon. It has elongated shape with pale green or white flesh. The taste is prominently sweet. It’s a popular fruit for a snack or dessert.
12. Charentais Melon
Types of melon – Charentais Melon
This is fragrant type of cantaloupe. It was grown in France in 1920. Now it’s produced in North Africa on a large scale. Charentais Melon has also being produced in the US, although it’s limited.
13. Bailan Melon
Types of melon – Bailan Melon
It’s grown near Lanzhou, the capital city of Gansu province. Bailan melon is very popular in China. It has similiarities in appearance with honeydew.
14. Hami Melon
Types of melon – Hami Melon
Hami melon originated from Hami, Xinjiang. It has a crisp and very sweet flesh. The skin is white but usually yellow or greenish as well.
15. Santa Claus Melon
Types of melon – Santa Claus Melon
It has a thick and green-striped outer rind. It’s usually eaten for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The taste is as sweet as cantaloupe. Ho, ho, ho, this variety is definitely suitable for your Christmas dinner.
16. Sky Rocket
Types of melon – Sky Rocket Melon
The weight of this variety can go up to 3 kg. The shape of this melon is round, and the skin color is webbed green and yellow. The flesh of sky rocket melon is really sweet and fresh. The texture of this variety is chewy. Sky rocket melon need 65 days to be harvested.
17. Golden Langkawi Melon
Types of melon – Golden Langkawi melon
Golden Langkawi Melon is a superior melon variety. This delicious fruit is originated from Langkawi, Malaysia. The characteristics of Golden Langkawi Melon are from their golden skin, smoother skin surfaces unlike the other melon variety that have webbed skin. The shape of golden Langkawi melon is a little bit elliptical. The flesh texture of Golden Langkawi Melon is crunchier, high in sugar rate and rich in water content. This melon variety can weigh up to 3 kg. Another useful thing from this melon variety is, their short period of harvest time. Golden Langkawi Melon can also be planted in many plantation media such as pollybag and plastic pot so this melon variety can save up the space on your field.
Types of melon – Apollo Melon
Another delicious variety of melon is named Apollo. Apollo is a little bit similar with Golden Langkawi Melon but the difference can be distinguished from the skin surface. The skin on Apollo melon has webbed sketch and brighter color. The taste of this melon variety is also sweet, fresh, and fibreless texture. The water content inside Apollo melon is abundant. Therefore, this melon variety is also the most popular melon variety.
19. Honey Globe
Types of melon – Honey Globe Melon
This one is also categorized into superior quality melon. The characteristic of Honey Globe melon is round, the skin color is green, and webbed skin surface. Honey Globe Melon can weigh up to 4 kg. The flesh is thick, watery, and the taste is sweet due to the 17%-19% of natural sugar amount. The texture of this melon flesh is tender and chewable. Another advantage from this melon is their short period of plantation. The stem of Honey Globe melon is also strong enough to carry its fruit. However, this kind of melon needs a special treatment and preparation in order to get desired result.
20. Autumn Sweet
Types of melon – Autumn Sweet Melon
Another delicious melon variety is Autumn Sweet. Autumn Sweet melon is fully round in shape weigh up to 1,3 kg. The skin surfaces of Autumn Sweet melon is golden yellow and the flesh is white. The taste of this melon variety is sweet and the texture is watery yet tender.
21. Sky Rocket
Types of melon – Sky Rocket Melon
This one is another popular variety of melon. The shape of Select Rocket melon is slightly similar with Sky Rocket. The seed of Select Rocket Melon is actually comes from Sky Rocket melon which is repackaged in New Zealand. Select Rocket melon is usually planted if Sky Rocket is unavailable at the markets. Although they are similar, some of the melon farmer said that Sky Rocket melon much more favorite rather than select rocket melon.
22. Jade Dew
Types of melon – Jade Dew Melon
Alright, here is another variety of delicious melon named Jade Dew. Jade Dew melon has round in shape and weighs up to 2 kg. The skin surface of Jade Dew is semi-webbed and the color is greenish white. The flesh of Jade Dew melon is milky yellow in color and the taste is sweet and the texture is crunchy. Another useful aspect from Jade Dew melon is, this melon variety is resistance to various viruses and plant diseases. Jade Dew melon usually planted on highland.
23. Golden Prize
Types of melon – Golden Prize Melon
The shape of Golden Prize Melon is slightly elliptical. The skin surface of this melon variety is rough and it has yellow in color. The flesh of Golden Prize melon is fresh orange and the taste is sweet. The texture of Golden Prize melon is crunchy and succulent. The skin of Golden Prize melon is relatively thick and due to the skin thickness, this melon variety can be kept in some period of time. Therefore, Golden Prize melon is the favorite fruit especially for the exporter.
24. Ten Me
Types of melon – Ten Me Melon
This variety of melon is known as the most expensive and the highest quality among all of the melons. The weight of Ten Me melon can go up to 4 kg. The skin surface is white and yellow and smooth webbed skin. The flesh is thick, tender, fragrant and the taste is super duper sweet.
25. New Century
Types of melon – New Century Melon
New Century melon shape is elliptical. The skin is yellow with thin web on it. The flesh is thick, orange colored, the taste is really sweet and the texture is crunchy. New Century melon is originated from Taiwan. This variety of melon is also resistance to viruses and plant diseases. The average weigh of this fruit is 1.5 kg and the maximum weight of this melon can go up to 4 kg. New Century melon is abundantly planted to sell on the modern markets or grand hotels.
Cucurbita species fall into two main groups. The first group are annual or short-lived perennial vines and are mesophytic, i.e. they require a more or less continuous water supply. The second group are perennials growing in arid zones and so are xerophytic, tolerating dry conditions. Cultivated Cucurbita species were derived from the first group. Growing 5 to 15 meters (16 to 49 ft) in height or length, the plant stem produces tendrils to help it climb adjacent plants and structures or extend along the ground. Most species do not readily root from the nodes a notable exception is C. ficifolia, and the four other cultivated mesophytes do this to a lesser extent. The vine of the perennial Cucurbita can become semiwoody if left to grow. There is wide variation in size, shape, and color among Cucurbita fruits, and even within a single species. C. ficifolia is an exception, being highly uniform in appearance.  The morphological variation in the species C. pepo  and C. maxima  is so vast that its various subspecies and cultivars have been misidentified as totally separate species. 
The typical cultivated Cucurbita species has five-lobed or palmately divided leaves with long petioles, with the leaves alternately arranged on the stem. The stems in some species are angular. All of the above-ground parts may be hairy with various types of trichomes, which are often hardened and sharp. Spring-like tendrils grow from each node and are branching in some species. C. argyrosperma has ovate-cordate (egg-shaped to heart-shaped) leaves. The shape of C. pepo leaves varies widely. C. moschata plants can have light or dense pubescence. C. ficifolia leaves are slightly angular and have light pubescence. The leaves of all four of these species may or may not have white spots. 
There are male (staminate) and female (pistillate) flowers (unisexual flowers) on a single plant (monoecious), and these grow singly, appearing from the leaf axils. Flowers have five fused yellow to orange petals (the corolla) and a green bell-shaped calyx. Male flowers in Cucurbitaceae generally have five stamens, but in Cucurbita there are only three, and their anthers are joined together so that there appears to be one.   Female flowers have thick pedicels, and an inferior ovary with 3–5 stigmas that each have two lobes.   The female flowers of C. argyrosperma and C. ficifolia have larger corollas than the male flowers.  Female flowers of C. pepo have a small calyx, but the calyx of C. moschata male flowers is comparatively short. 
Cucurbita fruits are large and fleshy.  Botanists classify the Cucurbita fruit as a pepo, which is a special type of berry derived from an inferior ovary, with a thick outer wall or rind with hypanthium tissue forming an exocarp around the ovary, and a fleshy interior composed of mesocarp and endocarp. The term "pepo" is used primarily for Cucurbitaceae fruits, where this fruit type is common, but the fruits of Passiflora and Carica are sometimes also pepos.   The seeds, which are attached to the ovary wall (parietal placentation) and not to the center, are large and fairly flat with a large embryo that consists almost entirely of two cotyledons.  Fruit size varies considerably: wild fruit specimens can be as small as 4 centimeters (1.6 in) and some domesticated specimens can weigh well over 300 kilograms (660 lb).  The current world record was set in 2014 by Beni Meier of Switzerland with a 2,323.7-pound (1,054.0 kg) pumpkin. 
Cucurbita was formally described in a way that meets the requirements of modern botanical nomenclature by Linnaeus in his Genera Plantarum,  the fifth edition of 1754 in conjunction with the 1753 first edition of Species Plantarum.  Cucurbita pepo is the type species of the genus.   Linnaeus initially included the species C. pepo, C. verrucosa and C. melopepo (both now included in C. pepo), as well as C. citrullus (watermelon, now Citrullus lanatus) and C. lagenaria (now Lagenaria siceraria) (both are not Cucurbita but are in the family Cucurbitaceae. 
The Cucurbita digitata, C. foetidissima, C. galeotti, and C. pedatifolia species groups are xerophytes, arid zone perennials with storage roots the remainder, including the five domesticated species, are all mesophytic annuals or short-life perennials with no storage roots.   The five domesticated species are mostly isolated from each other by sterility barriers and have different physiological characteristics.  Some cross pollinations can occur: C. pepo with C. argyrosperma and C. moschata and C. maxima with C. moschata. Cross pollination does occur readily within the family Cucurbitaceae.  The buffalo gourd (C. foetidissima), which according to some, does not taste good, has been used as an intermediary as it can be crossed with all the common Cucurbita. 
Various taxonomic treatments have been proposed for Cucurbita, ranging from 13 to 30 species.  In 1990, Cucurbita expert Michael Nee classified them into the following oft-cited 13 species groups (27 species total), listed by group and alphabetically, with geographic origin:    
- C. argyrosperma (synonymC. mixta) – cushaw pumpkin origin: Panama, Mexico
- C. kellyana, origin: Pacific coast of western Mexico
- C. palmeri, origin: Pacific coast of northwestern Mexico
- C. sororia, origin: Pacific coast Mexico to Nicaragua, northeastern Mexico
- C. californica
- C. cordata
- C. cylindrata
- C. palmata
- C. scabridifolia, likely a natural hybrid of C. foetidissima and C. pedatifolia
- C. andreana, origin – Argentina
- C. martinezii, origin: Mexican Gulf Coast and foothills
- C. moorei
- C. fraterna, origin: Tamaulipas and Nuevo León, Mexico
- C. texana, origin: Texas, USA
- C. gracilior
The taxonomy by Nee closely matches the species groupings reported in a pair of studies by a botanical team led by Rhodes and Bemis in 1968 and 1970 based on statistical groupings of several phenotypic traits of 21 species. Seeds for studying additional species members were not available. Sixteen of the 21 species were grouped into five clusters with the remaining five being classified separately:  
- C. digitata, C. palmata, C. californica, C. cylindrata, C. cordata
- C. martinezii, C. okeechobeensis, C. lundelliana
- C. sororia, C. gracilior, C. palmeri C. argyrosperma (reported as C. mixta) was considered close to the three previous species
- C. maxima, C. andreana
- C. pepo, C. texana
- C. moschata, C. ficifolia, C. pedatifolia, C. foetidissima, and C. ecuadorensis were placed in their own separate species groups as they were not considered significantly close to any of the other species studied.
The full phylogeny of this genus is unknown, and research was ongoing in 2014.   The following cladogram of Cucurbita phylogeny is based upon a 2002 study of mitochondrial DNA by Sanjur and colleagues. 
C. pepo subspp. fraterna and ovifera
All species of Cucurbita have 20 pairs of chromosomes.  Many North and Central American species are visited by specialist pollinators in the apid tribe Eucerini, especially the genera Peponapis and Xenoglossa, and these squash bees can be crucial to the flowers producing fruit after pollination.   
When there is more pollen applied to the stigma, more seeds are produced in the fruits and the fruits are larger with greater likelihood of maturation,  an effect called xenia. Competitively grown specimens are therefore often hand-pollinated to maximize the number of seeds in the fruit, which increases the fruit size this pollination requires skilled technique.   Seedlessness is known to occur in certain cultivars of C. pepo.  
The most critical factors in flowering and fruit set are physiological, having to do with the age of the plant and whether it already has developing fruit.  The plant hormones ethylene and auxin are key in fruit set and development.  Ethylene promotes the production of female flowers. When a plant already has a fruit developing, subsequent female flowers on the plant are less likely to mature, a phenomenon called "first-fruit dominance",  and male flowers are more frequent, an effect that appears due to reduced natural ethylene production within the plant stem.  Ethephon, a plant growth regulator product that is converted to ethylene after metabolism by the plant, can be used to increase fruit and seed production.  
The plant hormone gibberellin, produced in the stamens, is essential for the development of all parts of the male flowers. The development of female flowers is not yet understood.  Gibberellin is also involved in other developmental processes of plants such as seed and stem growth. 
Germination and seedling growth Edit
Seeds with maximum germination potential develop (in C. moschata) by 45 days after anthesis, and seed weight reaches its maximum 70 days after anthesis.  Some varieties of C. pepo germinate best with eight hours of sunlight daily and a planting depth of 1.2 centimeters (0.47 in). Seeds planted deeper than 12.5 centimeters (4.9 in) are not likely to germinate.  In C. foetidissima, a weedy species, plants younger than 19 days old are not able to sprout from the roots after removing the shoots. In a seed batch with 90 percent germination rate, over 90 percent of the plants had sprouted after 29 days from planting. 
Experiments have shown that when more pollen is applied to the stigma, as well as the fruit containing more seeds and being larger (the xenia effect mentioned above), the germination of the seeds is also faster and more likely, and the seedlings are larger.  Various combinations of mineral nutrients and light have a significant effect during the various stages of plant growth. These effects vary significantly between the different species of Cucurbita. A type of stored phosphorus called phytate forms in seed tissues as spherical crystalline intrusions in protein bodies called globoids. Along with other nutrients, phytate is used completely during seedling growth.  Heavy metal contamination, including cadmium, has a significant negative impact on plant growth.  Cucurbita plants grown in the spring tend to grow larger than those grown in the autumn. 
Archaeological investigations have found evidence of domestication of Cucurbita going back over 8,000 years from the very southern parts of Canada down to Argentina and Chile. Centers of domestication stretch from the Mississippi River watershed and Texas down through Mexico and Central America to northern and western South America.  Of the 27 species that Nee delineates, five are domesticated. Four of them, C. argyrosperma, C. ficifolia, C. moschata, and C. pepo, originated and were domesticated in Mesoamerica for the fifth, C. maxima, these events occurred in South America. 
Within C. pepo, the pumpkins, the scallops, and possibly the crooknecks are ancient and were domesticated at different times and places. The domesticated forms of C. pepo have larger fruits than non-domesticated forms and seeds that are bigger but fewer in number.  In a 1989 study on the origins and development of C. pepo, botanist Harry Paris suggested that the original wild specimen had a small round fruit and that the modern pumpkin is its direct descendant. He suggested that the crookneck, ornamental gourd, and scallop are early variants and that the acorn is a cross between the scallop and the pumpkin. 
C. argyrosperma is not as widespread as the other species. The wild form C. a. subsp. sororia is found from Mexico to Nicaragua, and cultivated forms are used in a somewhat wider area stretching from Panama to the southeastern United States.  It was probably bred for its seeds, which are large and high in oil and protein, but its flesh is of poorer quality than that of C. moschata and C. pepo. It is grown in a wide altitudinal range: from sea level to as high as 1,800 meters (5,900 ft) in dry areas, usually with the use of irrigation, or in areas with a defined rainy season, where seeds are sown in May and June. 
C. ficifolia and C. moschata were originally thought to be Asiatic in origin, but this has been disproven. The origin of C. ficifolia is Latin America, most likely southern Mexico, Central America, or the Andes. It grows at altitudes ranging from 1,000 meters (3,300 ft) to 3,000 meters (9,800 ft) in areas with heavy rainfall. It does not hybridize well with the other cultivated species as it has significantly different enzymes and chromosomes. 
C. maxima originated in South America over 4,000 years ago,  probably in Argentina and Uruguay. The plants are sensitive to frost, and they prefer both bright sunlight and soil with a pH of 6.0 to 7.0.  C. maxima did not start to spread into North America until after the arrival of Columbus. Varieties were in use by native peoples of the United States by the 16th century.  Types of C. maxima include triloba,  zapallito,  zipinka,  Banana, Delicious, Hubbard, Marrow (C. maxima Marrow), Show, and Turban. 
C. moschata is native to Latin America, but the precise location of origin is uncertain.  It has been present in Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, and Peru for 4,000–6,000 years and has spread to Bolivia, Ecuador, Panama, Puerto Rico, and Venezuela. This species is closely related to C. argyrosperma. A variety known as the Seminole Pumpkin has been cultivated in Florida since before the arrival of Columbus. Its leaves are 20 to 30 centimeters (8 to 12 in) wide. It generally grows at low altitudes in hot climates with heavy rainfall, but some varieties have been found above 2,200 meters (7,200 ft).  Groups of C. moschata include Cheese, Crookneck (C. moschata), and Bell. 
C. pepo is one of the oldest, if not the oldest, domesticated species with the oldest known locations being Oaxaca, Mexico, 8,000–10,000 years ago, and Ocampo, Tamaulipas, Mexico, about 7,000 years ago. It is known to have appeared in Missouri, United States, at least 4,000 years ago.     Debates about the origin of C. pepo have been on-going since at least 1857.  There have traditionally been two opposing theories about its origin: 1) that it is a direct descendant of C. texana and 2) that C. texana is merely feral C. pepo.  A more recent theory by botanist Thomas Andres in 1987 is that descendants of C. fraterna hybridized with C. texana,  resulting in two distinct domestication events in two different areas: one in Mexico and one in the eastern United States, with C. fraterna and C. texana, respectively, as the ancestral species.     C. pepo may have appeared in the Old World before moving from Mexico into South America.  It is found from sea level to slightly above 2,000 meters (6,600 ft). Leaves have 3–5 lobes and are 20–35 centimeters (8–14 in) wide. All the subspecies, varieties, and cultivars are interfertile.  In 1986 Paris proposed a revised taxonomy of the edible cultivated C. pepo based primarily on the shape of the fruit, with eight groups .   All but a few C. pepo cultivars can be included in these groups.     There is one non-edible cultivated variety: C. pepo var. ovifera. 
A classification of cultivated C. pepo varieties based on Paris' eight groups and the one non-edible variety
Cultivar group Botanical name Image Description Acorn C. pepo var. turbinata Winter squash, both a shrubby and creeping plant, obovoid or conical shape, pointed at the apex and with longitudinal grooves, thus resembling a spinning top,  ex: Acorn squash    Cocozzelle C. pepo var. Ionga Summer squash, long round slender fruit that is slightly bulbous at the apex,  similar to fastigata, ex: Cocozelle von tripolis    Crookneck C. pepo var. torticollia (also torticollis) Summer squash, shrubby plant, with yellow, golden, or white fruit which is long and curved at the end and generally has a verrucose (wart-covered) rind,  ex: Crookneck squash    Pumpkin C. pepo var. pepo Winter squash, creeping plant, round, oblate, or oval shape and round or flat on the ends,  ex: Pumpkin    includes C. pepo subsp. pepo var. styriaca, used for Styrian pumpkin seed oil  Scallop C. pepo var. clypeata called C. melopepo by Linnaeus  Summer squash, prefers half-shrubby habitat, flattened or slightly discoidal shape, with undulations or equatorial edges,  ex: Pattypan squash    Straightneck C. pepo var. recticollis Summer squash, shrubby plant, with yellow or golden fruit and verrucose rind, similar to var. torticollia but a stem end that narrows,  ex: Straightneck squash    Vegetable marrow C. pepo var. fastigata Summer and winter squashes, creeper traits and a semi-shrub, cream to dark green color, short round fruit with a slightly broad apex,  ex: Spaghetti squash (a winter variety)    Zucchini/Courgette C. pepo var. cylindrica Summer squash, presently the most common group of cultivars, origin is recent (19th century), semi-shrubby, cylindrical fruit with a mostly consistent diameter,  similar to fastigata, ex: Zucchini    Ornamental gourds C. pepo var. ovifera Non-edible,  field squash closely related to C. texana, vine habitat, thin stems, small leaves, three sub-groups: C. pepo var. ovifera (egg-shaped, pear-shaped), C. pepo var. aurantia (orange color), and C. pepo var. verrucosa (round warty gourds), ornamental gourds found in Texas and called var. texana and ornamental gourds found outside of Texas (Illinois, Missouri, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Louisiana) are called var. ozarkana. 
The ancestral species of the genus Cucurbita were present in the Americas before the arrival of humans,   and are native to the New World. The likely center of origin is southern Mexico, spreading south through what is now known as Mesoamerica, on into South America, and north to what is now the southwestern United States.  Evolutionarily speaking, the genus is relatively recent in origin, dating back only to the Holocene, whereas the family Cucurbitaceae, in the shape of seeds similar to Bryonia, dates to the Paleocene.  No species within the genus is entirely genetically isolated. C. moschata can intercross with all the others, though the hybrid offspring may not themselves be fertile unless they become polyploid.  The genus was part of the culture of almost every native peoples group from southern South America to southern Canada.  Modern-day cultivated Cucurbita are not found in the wild.  Genetic studies of the mitochondrial gene nad1 show there were at least six independent domestication events of Cucurbita separating domestic species from their wild ancestors.  Species native to North America include C. digitata (calabazilla),  and C. foetidissima (buffalo gourd),  C. palmata (coyote melon), and C. pepo.  Some species, such as C. digitata and C. ficifolia, are referred to as gourds. Gourds, also called bottle-gourds, which are used as utensils or vessels, belong to the genus Lagenaria and are native to Africa. Lagenaria are in the same family and subfamily as Cucurbita but in a different tribe. 
The earliest known evidence of the domestication of Cucurbita dates back at least 8,000 years ago, predating the domestication of other crops such as maize and beans in the region by about 4,000 years.     This evidence was found in the Guilá Naquitz cave in Oaxaca, Mexico, during a series of excavations in the 1960s and 1970s, possibly beginning in 1959.   Solid evidence of domesticated C. pepo was found in the Guilá Naquitz cave in the form of increasing rind thickness and larger peduncles in the newer stratification layers of the cave. By c. 8,000 years BP the C. pepo peduncles found are consistently more than 10 millimeters (0.39 in) thick. Wild Cucurbita peduncles are always below this 10 mm barrier. Changes in fruit shape and color indicate that intentional breeding of C. pepo had occurred by no later than 8,000 years BP.    During the same time frame, average rind thickness increased from 0.84 millimeters (0.033 in) to 1.15 millimeters (0.045 in). 
Squash was domesticated first, followed by maize and then beans, becoming part of the Three Sisters agricultural system of companion planting.   The English word "squash" derives from askutasquash (a green thing eaten raw), a word from the Narragansett language, which was documented by Roger Williams, the founder of Rhode Island, in his 1643 publication A Key Into the Language of America.  Similar words for squash exist in related languages of the Algonquian family.  
The family Cucurbitaceae has many species used as human food.  Cucurbita species are some of the most important of those, with the various species being prepared and eaten in many ways. Although the stems and skins tend to be more bitter than the flesh,   the fruits and seeds of cultivated varieties are quite edible and need little or no preparation. The flowers and young leaves and shoot tips can also be consumed.  The seeds and fruits of most varieties can be stored for long periods of time,  particularly the sweet-tasting winter varieties with their thick, inedible skins. Summer squash have a thin, edible skin. The seeds of both types can be roasted, eaten raw, made into pumpkin seed oil,  ground into a flour or meal,  or otherwise prepared.
Squashes are primarily grown for the fresh food market.  The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) reported that the ranking of the top five squash-producing countries was stable between 2005 and 2009. Those countries are: China, India, Russia, the United States, and Egypt. By 2012, Iran had moved into the 5th slot, with Egypt falling to 6th. The top 10 countries in terms of metric tons of squashes produced are: 
Top ten squash producers — 2012 
China 6,140,840 India 4,424,200 Russia 988,180 USA 778,630 Iran 695,600 Egypt 658,234 Mexico 522,388 Ukraine 516,900 Italy 508,075 Turkey 430,402 Top 10 total 15,663,449
The only additional countries that rank in the top 20 where squashes are native are Cuba, which ranks 14th with 347,082 metric tons, and Argentina, which ranks 17th, with 326,900 metric tons.  In addition to being the 4th largest producer of squashes in the world, the United States is the world's largest importer of squashes, importing 271,614 metric tons in 2011, 95 percent of that from Mexico. Within the United States, the states producing the largest amounts are Florida, New York, California, and North Carolina. 
As an example of Cucurbita, raw summer squash is 94% water, 3% carbohydrates, and 1% protein, with negligible fat content (table). In 100 grams, raw squash supplies 16 calories and is rich in vitamin C (20% of the Daily Value, DV), moderate in vitamin B6 and riboflavin (12–17% DV), but otherwise devoid of appreciable nutrient content (table), although the nutrient content of different Curcubita species may vary somewhat. 
Cucurbitin is an amino acid and a carboxypyrrolidine that is found in raw Cucurbita seeds.   It retards the development of parasitic flukes when administered to infected host mice, although the effect is only seen if administration begins immediately after infection. 
Cucurmosin is a ribosome inactivating protein found in the flesh and seed of Cucurbita,   notably Cucurbita moschata. Cucurmosin is more toxic to cancer cells than healthy cells.  
Cucurbitacin is a plant steroid present in wild Cucurbita and in each member of the family Cucurbitaceae. Poisonous to mammals,  it is found in quantities sufficient to discourage herbivores. It makes wild Cucurbita and most ornamental gourds, with the exception of an occasional C. fraterna and C. sororia, bitter to taste.    Ingesting too much cucurbitacin can cause stomach cramps, diarrhea and even collapse.  This bitterness is especially prevalent in wild Cucurbita in parts of Mexico, the flesh of the fruits is rubbed on a woman's breast to wean children.  While the process of domestication has largely removed the bitterness from cultivated varieties,  there are occasional reports of cucurbitacin causing illness in humans.  Cucurbitacin is also used as a lure in insect traps. 
Cucurbita species are used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species, including the cabbage moth (Mamestra brassicae), Hypercompe indecisa, and the turnip moth (Agrotis segetum).  Cucurbita can be susceptible to the pest Bemisia argentifolii (silverleaf whitefly)  as well as aphids (Aphididae), cucumber beetles (Acalymma vittatum and Diabrotica undecimpunctata howardi), squash bug (Anasa tristis), the squash vine borer (Melittia cucurbitae), and the two-spotted spidermite (Tetranychus urticae).  The squash bug causes major damage to plants because of its very toxic saliva.  The red pumpkin beetle (Raphidopalpa foveicollis) is a serious pest of cucurbits, especially the pumpkin, which it can defoliate.  Cucurbits are susceptible to diseases such as bacterial wilt (Erwinia tracheiphila), anthracnose (Colletotrichum spp.), fusarium wilt (Fusarium spp.), phytophthora blight (Phytophthora spp. water molds), and powdery mildew (Erysiphe spp.).  Defensive responses to viral, fungal, and bacterial leaf pathogens do not involve cucurbitacin. 
Species in the genus Cucurbita are susceptible to some types of mosaic virus including: cucumber mosaic virus (CMV), papaya ringspot virus-cucurbit strain (PRSV), squash mosaic virus (SqMV), tobacco ringspot virus (TRSV),  watermelon mosaic virus (WMV), and zucchini yellow mosaic virus (ZYMV).     PRSV is the only one of these viruses that does not affect all cucurbits.   SqMV and CMV are the most common viruses among cucurbits.   Symptoms of these viruses show a high degree of similarity, which often results in laboratory investigation being needed to differentiate which one is affecting plants. 
Culinary uses Edit
Long before European contact, Cucurbita had been a major food source for the native peoples of the Americas, and the species became an important food for European settlers, including the Pilgrims, even featuring at the first Thanksgiving.  Commercially produced pumpkin commonly used in pumpkin pie is most often varieties of C. moschata Libby's, by far the largest producer of processed pumpkin, uses a proprietary strain of the Dickinson pumpkin variety of C. moschata for its canned pumpkin.  Other foods that can be made using members of this genus include biscuits, bread, cheesecake, desserts, donuts, granola, ice cream, lasagna dishes, pancakes, pudding, pumpkin butter,  salads, soups, and stuffing.  Squash soup is a dish in African cuisine.  The xerophytic species are proving useful in the search for nutritious foods that grow well in arid regions.  C. ficifolia is used to make soft and mildly alcoholic drinks. 
In India, squashes (ghia) are cooked with seafood such as prawns.  In France, marrows (courges) are traditionally served as a gratin, sieved and cooked with butter, milk, and egg, and flavored with salt, pepper, and nutmeg,  and as soups. In Italy, zucchini and larger squashes are served in a variety of regional dishes, such as cocuzze alla puviredda cooked with olive oil, salt and herbs from Apulia as torta di zucca from Liguria, or torta di zucca e riso from Emilia-Romagna, the squashes being made into a pie filling with butter, ricotta, parmesan, egg, and milk and as a sauce for pasta in dishes like spaghetti alle zucchine from Sicily.  In Japan, squashes such as small C. moschata pumpkins (kabocha) are eaten boiled with sesame sauce, fried as a tempura dish, or made into balls with sweet potato and Japanese mountain yam. 
Art, music, and literature Edit
Along with maize and beans, squash has been depicted in the art work of the native peoples of the Americas for at least 2,000 years.   For example, cucurbits are often represented in Moche ceramics.  
Though native to the western hemisphere, Cucurbita began to spread to other parts of the world after Christopher Columbus's arrival in the New World in 1492.   Until recently, the earliest known depictions of this genus in Europe was of Cucurbita pepo in De Historia Stirpium Commentarii Insignes in 1542 by the German botanist Leonhart Fuchs, but in 1992, two paintings, one of C. pepo and one of C. maxima, painted between 1515 and 1518, were identified in festoons at Villa Farnesina in Rome.  Also, in 2001 depictions of this genus were identified in Grandes Heures of Anne of Brittany (Les Grandes Heures d'Anne de Bretagne), a French devotional book, an illuminated manuscript created between 1503 and 1508. This book contains an illustration known as Quegourdes de turquie, which was identified by cucurbit specialists as C. pepo subsp. texana in 2006. 
In 1952, Stanley Smith Master, using the pen name Edrich Siebert, wrote "The Marrow Song (Oh what a beauty!)" to a tune in 6
8 time. It became a popular hit in Australia in 1973,  and was revived by the Wurzels in Britain on their 2003 album Cutler of the West.   John Greenleaf Whittier wrote a poem entitled The Pumpkin in 1850.  "The Great Pumpkin" is a fictional holiday figure in the comic strip Peanuts by Charles M. Schulz. 
Cleansing and personal care uses Edit
C. foetidissima contains a saponin that can be obtained from the fruit and root. This can be used as a soap, shampoo, and bleach. Prolonged contact can cause skin irritation.   Pumpkin is also used in cosmetics. 
Folk remedies Edit
Cucurbita have been used in various cultures as folk remedies. Pumpkins have been used by Native Americans to treat intestinal worms and urinary ailments. This Native American remedy was adopted by American doctors in the early nineteenth century as an anthelmintic for the expulsion of worms.  In southeastern Europe, seeds of C. pepo were used to treat irritable bladder and benign prostatic hyperplasia.  In Germany, pumpkin seed is approved for use by the Commission E, which assesses folk and herbal medicine, for irritated bladder conditions and micturition problems of prostatic hyperplasia stages 1 and 2, although the monograph published in 1985 noted a lack of pharmacological studies that could substantiate empirically found clinical activity.  The FDA in the United States, on the other hand, banned the sale of all such non-prescription drugs for the treatment of prostate enlargement in 1990. 
In China, C. moschata seeds were also used in traditional Chinese medicine for the treatment of the parasitic disease schistosomiasis  and for the expulsion of tape worms. 
In Mexico, herbalists use C. ficifolia in the belief that it reduces blood sugar levels. 
Cucurbita fruits including pumpkins and marrows are celebrated in festivals in countries such as Argentina, Austria,  Bolivia,  Britain, Canada,  Croatia,  France,   Germany, India, Italy,     Japan,  Peru,  Portugal, Spain,  Switzerland,  and the United States. Argentina holds an annual nationwide pumpkin festival Fiesta Nacional del Zapallo ("Squashes and Pumpkins National Festival"), in Ceres, Santa Fe,  on the last day of which a Reina Nacional del Zapallo ("National Queen of the Pumpkin") is chosen.    In Portugal the Festival da Abóbora de Lourinhã e Atalaia ("Squashes and Pumpkins Festival in Lourinhã and Atalaia") is held in Lourinhã city, called the Capital Nacional da Abóbora (the "National Capital of Squashes and Pumpkins").  Ludwigsburg, Germany annually hosts the world's largest pumpkin festival.  In Britain a giant marrow (zucchini) weighing 54.3177 kilograms (119.750 lb) was displayed in the Harrogate Autumn Flower Show in 2012.  In the US, pumpkin chucking is practiced competitively, with machines such as trebuchets and air cannons designed to throw intact pumpkins as far as possible.   The Keene Pumpkin Fest is held annually in New Hampshire in 2013 it held the world record for the most jack-o-lanterns lit in one place, 30,581 on October 19, 2013. 
Halloween is widely celebrated with jack-o-lanterns made of large orange pumpkins carved with ghoulish faces and illuminated from inside with candles.  The pumpkins used for jack-o-lanterns are C. pepo,   not to be confused with the ones typically used for pumpkin pie in the United States, which are C. moschata.  Kew Gardens marked Halloween in 2013 with a display of pumpkins, including a towering pyramid made of many varieties of squash, in the Waterlily House during its "IncrEdibles" festival. 
What is this plant with yellow large fruit? - Biology
The sapote fruit fly, Anastrepha serpentina (Wiedemann), sometimes called the serpentine fruit fly, is intercepted frequently in United States ports of entry in various hosts from several countries. It is an important pest species in Mexico because its larvae infest sapote, sapodilla, willowleaf lucuma, and related fruits.
Figure 1. Adult female. Drawing by Division of Plant Industry.
Synonymy (Back to Top)
Dacus serpentina Wiedemann, 1830
Leptoxys serpentina (Wiedemann), 1843
Urophora vittithorax Macquart, 1851
(Trypeta) Acrotoxa serpentina (Wiedemann), 1873
Acrotoxa serpentina (Wiedemann)
Distribution (Back to Top)
This species is one of the most widely distributed in the genus Anastrepha. Its range extends from northern Mexico south to Peru and northern Argentina, and is recorded from Trinidad, Tobago and Curaçao. It has also been trapped in southern Texas in the USA, but it is uncertain whether it has breeding populations there (Norrbom 2003).
If Anastrepha serpentina were introduced into southern Florida, it could possibly become a serious pest of the tropical fruits grown there.
Description (Back to Top)
Adult: The adult is a medium sized, dark brown fly, with pale yellow and orange-brown markings. The dorsum of the thorax is dark brown with yellow markings. The wing is 7.25&ndash8.5 mm long. Wing bands are predominantly dark brown, and the costal and S bands are rather broadly coalescent. On the wing, the hyaline areas to each side of the juncture rarely touch the vein R4+5, with no distal arm to V band. The proximal arm is slender and entirely separated from the S band. The dorsum of the abdomen is marked with dark brown, brownish yellow, and orange. Leg color varies from pale yellow to brownish yellow, or brown on one side and pale yellow on the other.
The ovipositor sheath of the female is 3.0&ndash3.9 mm long, orange-brown, rather stout basally and depressed apically. The spiracles are about 1.2 mm from its base. The ovipositor itself is 2.8&ndash3.7 mm long, with the tip slightly more than apical half minutely serrate.
Figure 2. Ovipositor tip. Drawing by Division of Plant Industry.
Larva: The mature larva is relatively large for fruit flies, 9&ndash10 mm long and 1.5 mm in diameter, with the usual elongate shape. Anterior respiratory organs have the external parts somewhat fan-shaped, but nearly flat across the top, with 17 to 19 small, thick, short tubules. For detailed larval characters, see Phillips (1946).
Anastrepha serpentina, the type of the genus, is one of a group of four species that differ noticeably in color pattern from other species in the genus. As illustrated by Stone (1942), Anastrepha anomala Stone has the wing pattern as in Anastrepha serpentina, but has a longer ovipositor and a reduced dark pattern on the pleura and abdomen.Anastrepha ornata Aldrich has the costal and V bands separated, and Anastrepha pulchra Stone has a large black spot in the disk of the wing.
Life cycle and Biology (Back to Top)
Females may oviposit up to 600 eggs in about one and a half months. Mature green fruits apparently are preferred. Females have been observed to continue oviposition over periods extending from 21 to 29 weeks under laboratory conditions.
Figure 3. Egg of the sapote fruit fly, Anastrepha serpentina, compared with other common Anastrepha species. Drawing by Division of Plant Industry.
Hosts (Back to Top)
The preferred food plants are members of the family Sapotaceae, especially star-apple, Chrysophyllum cainito, and sapodilla, Manilkara zapota. Other hosts include:
- Annona glabra, pond-apple
- Citrus mitis, calamondin Citrus paradisi, grapefruit Citrus sinensis, sweet orange
- Cydonia oblonga, quince
- Dovyalis hebecarpa, 'Ceylon gooseberry'
- Ficus spp.
- Malus sylvestris, European wild apple
- Mammea americana, mammee apple
- Mangifera indica, mango
- Mimusops coriacea, monkey's apple
- Persea americana, avocado
- Pouteria lucuma, 'lucuma' Pouteria sapota, mamey sapote
- Prunus persica, peach
- Psidium guajava, common guava
- Pyrus communis, European pear
- Sideroxylon palmeri and Sideroxylon tempisque, bully trees
- Spondias mombin, jobo or hog plum
Also, larvae have been reared experimentally from tomato, Lycopersicum esculentum.
Damage (Back to Top)
Infestations in tree-ripe fruits frequently are so high that in parts of Mexico, especially in Veracruz, growers pick the fruits green and ripen them artificially to avoid infestation. Fruits so ripened, however, are inferior to tree-ripened fruits.
Selected References (Back to Top)
- Baker AC, Stone WE, Plummer CC, McPhail M. 1944. A review of the Mexican fruitfly and related species. U.S. Department of Agriculture Miscellaneous Publication No. 531, Washington, D.C. 155 pp.
- Phillips VT. 1946. The biology and identification of trypetid larvae (Diptera: Trypetidae). Memoirs of the American Entomological Society 12, 161 pp.
- Stone A. 1942. The fruit flies of the genus Anastrepha. U.S. Department of Agriculture Miscellaneous Publication No. 439, Washington, D.C. 112 pp.
- White IM, Elson-Harris MM. 1994. Fruit flies of economic significance: Their identification and bionomics. CAB International. Oxon, UK. 601 pp.
Web Design: Don Wasik, Jane Medley
Publication Number: EENY-206
Publication Date: April 2001. Latest revision: January 2015. Reviewed April 2018.
What is this plant with yellow large fruit? - Biology
The broad mite, Polyphagotarsonemus latus, was first described by Banks (1904) as Tarsonemus latus from the terminal buds of mango in a greenhouse in Washington, D.C., USA (Denmark 1980). This species has a large host range and is distributed worldwide.
Figure 1. Broad mite, Polyphagotarsonemus latus (Banks), highly magnified. Photograph by J. Peña, University of Florida.
Distribution (Back to Top)
Polyphagotarsonemus latus has a worldwide distribution and is known by a number of common names. In India and Sri Lanka it is called the yellow tea mite, while those in Bangladesh call it the yellow jute mite. In some European countries it is called the broad spider. In parts of South America it is called the tropical mite or the broad rust mite (Anonymous a).
Description (Back to Top)
Adults: Female mites are about 0.2 mm long and oval in outline. Their bodies are swollen in profile and a light yellow to amber or green in color with an indistinct, light, median stripe that forks near the back end of the body. Males are similar in color but lack the stripe. The two hind legs of the adult females are reduced to whip-like appendages. The male is smaller (0.11mm) and faster moving than the female. The male's enlarged hind legs are used to pick up the female nymph and place her at right angles to the male's body for later mating (Peña and Campbell 2005).
Figure 2. Photographs of a female broad mite, Polyphagotarsonemus latus (Banks), on the surface of a pepper leaf. The photographs were taken with a low temperature scanning electron microscope (views from top to bottom: dorsal, left lateral, right lateral, front, rear). The specimen was held on a new, height-angle, azimuth rotation specimen holder and frozen in its natural position with liquid nitrogen. The USDA has a Build-A-Mite Web site where these five photographs can be copied, cut and folded to create a box that depicts the mite's three-dimensional shape. Photograph by Eric Erbe digital colorization by Chris Pooley, USDA.
Eggs: The eggs are colorless, translucent and elliptical in shape. They are about 0.08 mm long and are covered with 29 to 37 scattered white tufts on the upper surface (Denmark 1980, Peña and Campbell 2005, Baker 1997).
Larvae: Young broad mites have only three pairs of legs. They are slow moving and appear whitish due to minute ridges on the body (Peña and Campbell 2005). As they grow they range in size from 0.1 to 0.2 mm long (Anonymous a). The quiescent stage appears as an immobile, engorged larva (Baker 1997).
Nymph: After one day, the larva becomes a quiescent nymph that is clear and pointed at both ends. The nymphal stage lasts about a day. Nymphs are usually found in depressions on the fruit, although female nymphs are often carried about by males (Peña and Campbell 2005).
In the male, the body is short and oval. It is broadest at mid-length. The legs are long and spindly. Apodemes (chitinous ingrowths to which muscles are attached) are distinct and well defined. The propodosoma has four pairs of dorsal setae. The capitulum, including palpi, is 32µ long and 34µ wide. Leg IV is 1.5 times as long as the coxa. The coxa is rectangular and as broad as long, 2/3 as long as femur III, and with 1 stout seta. Genital papillae are 24µ long and 28µ wide, and are subcircular with posterior margin truncate. The anal plate is large and well defined. Triadiate apodemes have an expanse equal to 2/3 greatest width of the genital papillae (Denmark 1980).
Figure 3. Dorsal view of a male broad mite, Polyphagotarsonemus latus (Banks). Graphic by Division of Plant Industry.
Figure 4. Ventral view of a male broad mite, Polyphagotarsonemus latus (Banks). Graphic by Division of Plant Industry.
Figure 5. Leg IV of male broad mite, Polyphagotarsonemus latus (Banks). Graphic by Division of Plant Industry.
Biology (Back to Top)
The broad mite has four stages in its life cycle: egg, larva, nymph and adult. Adult females lay 30 to 76 eggs (averaging five per day) on the undersides of leaves and in the depressions of small fruit over an eight- to 13-day period and then die. Adult males may live five to nine days. While unmated females lay eggs that become males, mated females usually lay four female eggs for every male egg.
The eggs hatch in two or three days and the larvae emerge from the egg to feed. Larvae are slow moving and do not disperse far. After two or three days, the larvae develop into a quiescent larval (nymph) stage. Quiescent female larvae become attractive to the males which pick them up and carry them to the new foliage. Males and females are very active, but the males apparently account for much of the dispersal of a broad mite population in their frenzy to carry the quiescent female larvae to new leaves. When females emerge from the quiescent stage, males immediately mate with them (Anonymous a, Baker 1997, Peña and Campbell 2005). There are also reports of the broad mite using insect hosts, specifically some whiteflies, to move from plant to plant (Palevsky et al. 2001).
Figure 6. Adult broad mite, Polyphagotarsonemus latus (Banks), carrying an immature broad mite. Photograph by D. Riley, University of Gerogia www.forestryimages.org.
Hosts (Back to Top)
The broad mite has a wide host range in tropical areas. It attacks greenhouse plants in temperate and subtropical regions (Peña and Campbell 2005).
Crops listed as hosts include: apple, avocado, cantaloupe, castor, chili, citrus, coffee, cotton, eggplant, grapes, guava, jute, mango, papaya, passion fruit, pear, potato, sesame, string or pole beans, tea, and tomato (Peña and Campbell 2005). USDA-ARS identified it for the first time on watermelons in the U.S. in 2006 (Pons 2007).
Broad mites infest many ornamentals, including African violet, ageratum, azalea, begonia, chrysanthemum, cyclamen, dahlia, gerbera, gloxinia, ivy, jasmine, impatiens, lantana, marigold, peperomia, pittosporum, snapdragon, verbena, and zinnia (Baker 1997).
The broad mite is considered a serious pest of Pittosporum spp. in Florida (Johnson and Lyon 1991).
Economic Importance (Back to Top)
This destructive pest causes terminal leaves and flower buds to become malformed. The mite's toxic saliva causes twisted, hardened and distorted growth in the terminal of the plant (Baker 1997). Mites are usually seen on the newest leaves and small fruit. Leaves turn downward and turn coppery or purplish. Internodes shorten and the lateral buds break more than normal. The blooms abort and plant growth is stunted when large populations are present (Denmark 1980, Wilkerson et al. 2005, Anonymous a). On fruit trees the damage is usually seen on the shaded side of the fruit, so it is not readily apparent. Fruit is discolored by feeding and in severe cases premature fruit drop may occur. Severely damage fruit is not salable in the fresh market but may be used for processing (Peña and Campbell 2005).
Figure 7. Damage to pittosporum caused by the broad mite, Polyphagotarsonemus latus (Banks). Photograph by Division of Plant Industry.
Figure 8. Damage to Impatiens sp. by the broad mite, Polyphagotarsonemus latus (Banks). Photograph by University of Florida.
Figure 9. Broad mite, Polyphagotarsonemus latus (Banks), damage to pepper. Photograph by J. Peña, University of Florida.
Figure 10. Broad mite, Polyphagotarsonemus latus (Banks), damage to pepper bud proliferation. Photograph by J. Peña, University of Florida.
Figure 11. Broad mite, Polyphagotarsonemus latus (Banks), damage to pepper a few weeks after infestation. Photograph by D. Riley, University of Georgia www.forestryimages.org.
Survey and Detection (Back to Top)
Look for malformed terminal buds and stunted growth. The mites may crowd into crevices and buds (Denmark 1980). Mites prefer the shaded side of fruit, which usually faces the plant, so time and effort must be expended for proper fruit inspection. Broad mites are very small and difficult to see without a 10 × or stronger hand lens (Peña and Campbell 2005).
Try not to confuse broad mite injury with herbicide injury, nutritional (boron) deficiencies or physiological disorders. For example, during late winter production, with cool temperatures and high humidity, some leaf curling and twisting seen on New Guinea impatiens, is a physiological disorder and not broad mite injury (Anonymous b).
Management (Back to Top)
While a number of miticides are labeled for control of this pest, insecticidal oils or soaps are usually just as effective and less toxic to the environment. For large area or greenhouse control, biological control agents are available, including several species of predatory mites (Wilkerson 2005, Peña and Campbell 2005, Fan and Petitt 1994, Peña et al. 1996). In addition, hot water treatments may be used to control the mites without injuring the plants. This involves lowering the plant into water held at 43 to 49°C (109.4-120.2°F) for 15 minutes (Anonymous a).
Selected References (Back to Top)
- Banks N. 1904. Class III, Arachnida, Order 1, Acarina, four new species of injurious mites. Journal of the New York Entomological Society 12: 53-56
- Denmark HA. 1980. Broad mite, Polyphagotarsonemus latus (Banks). FDACS-DPI Bureau of Entomology Circular No. 213. 2 pp.
- Fan Y, Petitt FL. 1994. Biological control of broad mite, Polyphagotarsonemus latus (Banks), by Neoseiulus barkeri Hughes on pepper. Biological Control 4: 390-395.
- Gerson U. 1992. Biology and control of the broad mite, Polyphagotarsonemus latus (Banks) (Acari: Tarsonemidae). Experimental & Applied Acarology 13: 163-178.
- Johnson WT, Lyon HH. 1991. Insects that Feed on Trees and Shrubs. 2nd ed., rev. Comstock Publishing Associates. 560 pp.
- Palevsky E, Soroker V, Weintraub P, Mansour F, Abo-Moch F, Gerson U. 2001. How species-specific is the phoretic relationship between the broad mite, Polyphagotarsonemus latus (Acari: Tarsonemidae), and its insect hosts? Experimental & Applied Acarology 25: 217-24.
- Peña JE, Osborne LS, Duncan RE. 1996. Potential of fungi as biocontrol agents of Polyphagotarsoneumus latus. Entomophaga 41: 27-36.
Author: Thomas R. Fasulo (retired), Entomology and Nematology Department, University of Florida
Photographs and Graphics: FDACS-Division of Plant Industry Jorge Peña and others, University of Florida David Riley, University of Georgia and USDA
Web Design: Don Wasik, Jane Medley
Publication Number: EENY-183
Publication Date: December 2000. Latest revision: May 2016. Reviewed: February 2019.
An Equal Opportunity Institution
Featured Creatures Editor and Coordinator: Dr. Elena Rhodes, University of Florida
Climate Considerations for Jambu Tree
A native of the maritime regions of southeastern Asia, the jambu fruit tree is adapted to low-altitude tropical climates. Across its winter-hardy range, the tree will withstand minor cold snaps only if covered. Gardeners in colder climates can grow jambu fruit plants in large containers for several seasons, overwintering them in a greenhouse or a warm, bright room indoors. However, the plants will eventually outgrow a container and need a more permanent situation to survive.
What Makes a Palm Tree, a Palm Tree?
Palm trees are angiosperms, which means flowering plants. They are monocots which means their seeds produce a single, leaf-like cotyledon when they sprout. This makes palms closely related to grasses and bamboos.
Grasses and bamboos are monocot relatives of palms trees
Palms can grow very fast. A Fish Tail Palm can grow to 10 meters (thirty feet) in as little as six years when conditions are optimal.
One reason that palms grow fast is that they invest less energy in defending themselves against insect damage than deciduous trees. They can still have tough outer layers, though, and some have dense &aposwoody&apos trunks.
Are Palms Really Trees?
Many botanists refuse to see palm trees as true trees because they lack the characteristics of secondary growth.
Secondary growth simply means the steady outward growth of a deciduous tree trunk or branch which gives rise to annual tree rings.
Any gardener is happy to call a tall palm, a tree, but some palms are not even remotely tree-like. Some fit the definition of shrub much better. Some, like Rattan species climb like lianas.
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