Mystery Squash; a Backyard Garden Favorite

August 23, 2009

Craving a cross pollinated Spaghetti-Nugget-Dumpling Squash? How about a rare spotted Butternut-Scallop-Acorn delight? Or even a gigantic Hubbard-Cushaw-Pumpkin variety? And who could do without a lovely wart covered Crookneck-Turban-Gourded beauty?

Well here are a few reports of mysterious, unidentified, mutated, or simply cross pollinated squashes that have been making appearances in backyard gardens this summer. The first sighting was reported by Anita who gardens in Ontario, Canada, in the Kawartha Lakes area.

Mysterious Canadian Squash Seeking Identification

Mystery-Squash“This mystery squash turned up in my garden.  I planted sweet potato squash, spaghetti squash and patty pan’s.  I did not plan on this squash, picture attached.  This monster started to surpass the sweet potato squash in size, it then changed colour, as in it was looking like a sweet potato squash, which are still creamy coloured and they are much smaller.”

“Do you think this could be a cross between a spaghetti squash and a sweet potato squash?  Or could it be a zucchini?  I cooked it and it was really watery and had the stringy texture of a spaghetti squash, but sweet and nutty flavoured.  The skin was also very soft after baking it, not tough as you would expect for the size of this, which I consider large, for this time of year in Northern Ontario.”

“It is sitting beside a Lodge Cast Iron Dutch oven to give you an idea of the size, 10-1/2 inches.  I have searched pictures on the internet and can’t find anything that resembles this.  Any idea what it might be?  I know that a zucchini can grow very large in a shot period of time.  Perhaps you have seen this in your gardening experience, I would appreciate it if you could let me know, or send it to your viewers, perhaps they would know.”

Anyone for a Serving of Sautéed Watermelon with Garlic?

Next up is a rather attractive fruit that was discovered growing in Patzcuaro, Mexico in a garden tended by Churchill, who is really baffled considering that they grew from a packet of what were supposed to be watermelon seeds!

Unidentfied-Squash“Hi, Kenny. I bought a pack of water melon seeds. What I got was not water melon. It is some kind of squash, but it doesn’t look like any of the pictures I have been able to find on the Internet. I think it may be a Hubbard.”

“I have attached four pictures. This thing is huge! I also included a photo of the plant and the squash next to it, which I call a soccer ball squash because if you let it, it gets about that size. The squash in question is huge, but our helper, Israel says it is still small.”

Latest Update: “About those squashes I thought might be Hubbards. Not! Quite large, I’d guess 4-8 lbs, and have a pale yellowish-green interior. They are common in Mexico, according to our farm hand. Already harvested two and expect another 10 and counting. When cut open they smell similar to water melon, but the seed structure is squash. Any takers on what kind of squash that is? They are quite tasty with enough garlic.”

Birds, Bees, and Cross Pollinated Squash Seeds

That’s definitely not a watermelon that Churchill is growing, but don’t ask me to say exactly what type of squash it is. Then there were the following comments that were posted here at Veggie Gardening Tips website…

Squash-Flower“I have a patty pan squash that seems to have cross pollinated with my zucchini. It was suppose to be a white patty pan but it is yellow with green (just like the zucchini) on them. Is it possible that they are actually cross pollinating?” – Laurie

“Hello, I came across this thread while looking for answers to a “Patty Pan Squash” hybrid or ‘mutant’ that I have growing in my garden this year. I hope you don’t mind me asking this question here… Last year I grew a variety of summer squash – zucchini, yellow and patty pan. This year I had some “volunteers” from last year’s discarded seeds.”

“One plant is producing Patty Pan-type squash. The leaves and plant shape is identical to this year’s seed-planted Patty Pan squash, and the skin is light green and smooth, but the squash are oblong in shape… looks more like a gourd than a squash. Any idea how this could happen?” – LaurieLou

When it Comes to Squash be Extra Careful of what You Sow

Lessons learned… Cross pollination won’t affect your squash plants or fruits in any noticeable manner during the current growing season. But be very careful about squash seeds that you save or that volunteer because they cross so easily and once they do there is no telling what you’ll find growing in the garden next time around!

I don’t have a clue, but if anyone thinks the mystery squashes pictured above are actual cultivated varieties and can shed a bit of light on the matter, please do share in the comment section below. Also feel free to send in your own photos of any mysterious, mutant, or unidentifiable squashes lurking in your garden. Thanks!

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  • Dave

    The shape of the watermelon/squash looks identical to the Australian heirloom Kamo Kamo squash that I’m growing:

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  • Sande

    Yes, I agree with Dave. The dark green heavily ribbed one looks like Kamo Kamo. I have some this year too.

  • Sheryl Winsby

    I am not sure that I agree that cross pollinating cannot affect the characteristics of squash plants. I have often had crook neck squash become more like a winter squash–harder skin and stringier texture. I have had different squash from the same plant this year, depending, I believe, on whether the plant was pollinated from a flower of a winter or summer squash.

  • Bob Gillies

    Hi, I grow pumpkin and squash here in South Africa , first at home then started at our church as we had plenty spare ground with great sun, ideal for these roaming veggies, also we have a feeding scheme which can use the produce. A favourite in SA is the round gem squash. I grew these one year and zuchini next to them. The following year I saw a few rogue plants come up but left them as they looked healthy. What I got was “long wheelbase” gem squash , I picked them and boiled one and when opened it was identical to a normal gem but 4 times the edible amount! It would probably make a good hybrid if it could be repeated. I also let the zuchini grow to 18″ or so into a big marrow. Then peel it, hollow it out , stuff it with a cooked ground beef filling and bake it in foil. When nearly done open the foil and grate cheese over it. and enjoy with mashed potato, peas and a good onion gravy, I would like to correspond with like minded veggie growers and exchange ideas.

  • Becky

    I don’t know what it is, either, but I’ve got one growing in my garden, too. Trying to find out what it is.

  • Andy

    I have one that looks like Mysterious Canadian Squash. Figured out what it is?

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  • Rachel-in-canada

    I got one this year looks like something between pic 1 and 2 — same shape as pic 2 but not as rigded. For several years the only squash we grew were pumpkin, acorn, and buttercup. I am pretty sure it is a pumpkin – acorn cross as it seems to have no buttercup features

  • kelly

    I have the EXACT same one mysteriously growing in MY garden!!! Have no clue what it is, or how it got there!!!

  • To me it looks like the New Zealand Mauri squash called Kamo Kamo. (Otherwise known as Kumi Kumi)

  • timone

    Hi I’m a Maori from New Zealand and your plant is definitely a kamo kamo otherwise known as kumikumi – the botanical name is cucurbita pepo. They are usually picked when green. To cook, cut into quite large pieces and steam or boil quickly with a little salt added to the water. When cooked or tender they are delicious to eat (skin included) with a knob of butter alongside any meat dish. A fully matured kamokamo will turn yellow or orange either when picked or if left to ripen on the vine and the skin will dry out and harden. It can then be stored to use as a winter vegetable.

  • Rob Trummer

    It is a over grown .Zucchini

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