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  #1  
Old 08-29-2007, 09:56 PM
dangermom dangermom is offline
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Poisonous volunteer squash? Anyone heard of this?

This is ringing a bell in the back of my head somewhere, but I can't remember and it's too general for successful Googling. I seem to recall a story about how you shouldn't eat unidentified volunteer squash in your garden, because sometimes it grows a poisonous variety, I presume from some sort of regressed hybrid or something. Does anyone have any information on this? Is it true? Did I make it all up?
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  #2  
Old 08-29-2007, 10:38 PM
kittenblue kittenblue is offline
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What the heck is volunteer squash?
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  #3  
Old 08-29-2007, 10:40 PM
jayjay jayjay is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kittenblue
What the heck is volunteer squash?
Squash you didn't plant. Any useful garden plant that comes up unintentionally is considered a volunteer. Sometimes it comes from seeds in kitchen garbage sprouting. Sometimes it comes from something a bird or possum or squirrel dragged (or pooped) into your yard.

Last edited by jayjay; 08-29-2007 at 10:40 PM..
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  #4  
Old 08-29-2007, 10:40 PM
Argent Towers Argent Towers is offline
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Yahoo search on "volunteer squash" brings up nothing. What ARE you referring to? I've gotta know now.

edit - never mind, now I know.

Last edited by Argent Towers; 08-29-2007 at 10:41 PM..
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  #5  
Old 08-29-2007, 11:35 PM
Soapbox Monkey Soapbox Monkey is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dangermom
This is ringing a bell in the back of my head somewhere, but I can't remember and it's too general for successful Googling. I seem to recall a story about how you shouldn't eat unidentified volunteer squash in your garden, because sometimes it grows a poisonous variety, I presume from some sort of regressed hybrid or something. Does anyone have any information on this? Is it true? Did I make it all up?
If there's vegetation that you KNOW you didn't plant, why they hell would you even chance eating it?

I don't want none of that possum-shit squash.
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  #6  
Old 08-29-2007, 11:51 PM
Xema Xema is offline
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I'll note that the bird-poop blackberries on the edge of the woods near my house are mighty good eating.
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  #7  
Old 08-30-2007, 12:46 AM
dangermom dangermom is offline
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Originally Posted by Soapbox Monkey
If there's vegetation that you KNOW you didn't plant, why they hell would you even chance eating it?

I don't want none of that possum-shit squash.
Well, AFAIK usually it's something that comes up in your compost heap or somewhere where you might not be too surprised to see a vaguely zucchini-like plant growing--maybe my family is just slobby, but we throw overgrown zucchini into corners all the time, and the next year there's a plant there. When I was a kid, our garden had volunteers all over. I can quite see how someone would assume that it's just a funny-looking zucchini from a stray seed and just fine to eat.

I ask because someone on another board has one growing in the yard. She put a picture up on flickr, and it's this huge green and white stripy thing that's sort of like an overgrown zucchini. She says they've thrown cukes and zucchini back there before, but have never planted anything like that. And it seems to me that I read something about how you shouldn't eat mystery squash like that.
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  #8  
Old 08-30-2007, 05:54 AM
MrDibble MrDibble is offline
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Are any varieties of squash poisonous, though? I mean, I can understand say mystery potatoes or tomatoes, those have poisonous parts or stages of growth. But AFAIK, you can eat anything from the flowers to the leaves and shoots of all common cucurbits. Granted, some of them may not be palatable, like bitter melon (but that's IMHO - many Asians will disagree), but not poisonous.

mmm, on searching <url=http://www.cucurbit.org/family.html>the cucurbit website</url> I do find references to 2 poisonous fruits, both globular cucumbers, one Middle Eastern/African (Globe Cucumber) and one South African (Gooseberry Cucumber).
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  #9  
Old 08-30-2007, 06:02 AM
MrDibble MrDibble is offline
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the cucurbit website - that's better.
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  #10  
Old 08-30-2007, 06:21 AM
Mangetout Mangetout is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrDibble
Are any varieties of squash poisonous, though? I mean, I can understand say mystery potatoes or tomatoes, those have poisonous parts or stages of growth. But AFAIK, you can eat anything from the flowers to the leaves and shoots of all common cucurbits. Granted, some of them may not be palatable, like bitter melon (but that's IMHO - many Asians will disagree), but not poisonous.
I concur - there are plenty of inedible ones - either too hard, too fibrous, too spiny or too bitter, but I don't know of anything that would be likely to turn up in this context, resemble a common-or-garden variety, and be actually poisonous.

There are other cultivated plants where this might be a risk - one that springs to mind is the garden huckleberry (Solanum melanocerasum) - which is a close relative of some quite poisonous garden weeds (or it might actually be a nonpoisonous cultivar of a plant that is poisonous in the wild state - I'm not sure)
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  #11  
Old 08-30-2007, 06:38 AM
Will Repair Will Repair is offline
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As long as the species and genus is the same then what difference could it possibly make if you planted it or not?
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  #12  
Old 08-30-2007, 06:42 AM
Mangetout Mangetout is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Will Repair
As long as the species and genus is the same then what difference could it possibly make if you planted it or not?
It can make a difference - cultivated varieties quite often lack undesirable qualities present in the same species in the wild - and these undesirable qualities can reappear in the offspring of the cultivated varieties, particularly if the seed was the result of pollination with a local wild strain.

I don't think it does make a difference here, but it can in other cases.

Last edited by Mangetout; 08-30-2007 at 06:42 AM..
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  #13  
Old 08-30-2007, 10:18 AM
Will Repair Will Repair is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mangetout
It can make a difference - cultivated varieties quite often lack undesirable qualities present in the same species in the wild...
Sure, first year Queen Ann's Lace just doesn't have that bunny bugging flavor but that doesn't mean you shouldn't eat it.
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  #14  
Old 08-30-2007, 10:33 AM
Finagle Finagle is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jayjay
Squash you didn't plant. Any useful garden plant that comes up unintentionally is considered a volunteer. Sometimes it comes from seeds in kitchen garbage sprouting. Sometimes it comes from something a bird or possum or squirrel dragged (or pooped) into your yard.
Often it's just seeds dropped from last year's plants. Cosmos are amazingly aggressive reseeders and due to a misplaced reluctance to pull up familiar plants, my garden this year consists largely of volunteer cosmos that has crowded out everything else. Although, amusingly, in among the forest, there's actually a few volunteer tomato plants from last year as well.

The annoying thing is that volunteer seeds (and just plain weeds) will almost always do better than seeds that are planted, watered, cossetted, and talked to. Germination rate for the cosmos I didn't plant: approximately 150%. Germination rate for the asters I planted: approximately 1%.
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  #15  
Old 08-30-2007, 11:16 AM
Zabali_Clawbane Zabali_Clawbane is offline
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Squash are a kind of gourd plant though, so unless you are absolutely certain as to the kind of squash it is, I wouldn't risk it. Some gourds poisonous. (I am using the terms as I heard them growing up. A squash is edible, a gourd isn't, but it may be useful in other ways. I know I am not using the "technically correct" definition here.) I've eaten volunteer squash before though, but that's because they came up in the same spot as that kind of squash were planted in last year, and the fruit were identifiable.
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  #16  
Old 08-30-2007, 11:18 AM
Mangetout Mangetout is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Will Repair
Sure, first year Queen Ann's Lace just doesn't have that bunny bugging flavor but that doesn't mean you shouldn't eat it.
Sometimes the undesirable characteristics that have been bred out of the cultivars include toxicity.
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  #17  
Old 08-30-2007, 12:10 PM
Harmonious Discord Harmonious Discord is offline
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I've never heard of any poisonous squash. Wild cucumbers are not going to pollinate squash. Squash open pollinate and you don't see anything in the news ever from a squash poisoning. The seed companies only separate different varieties to keep the characteristics close to the parent plant. Gourds stink and you would not mistakingly eat one. The squash sounds like one of the varieties that the stores sell. Not eating the squash will be paranoia run amuck.

http://www.burpee.com/p2p/searchResu...ivals&page=all

http://www.parkseed.com/webapp/wcs/s....y=0&go=submit

The thing that did cause a do not eat warning was from a Nasa and school project. They took tomato seeds into outerspace and exposed them to radiation from the sun for a while. Schools were given the seeds, and kids took plants home. Some time after the plants could have been producing they gave out a warning to destroy the plants, and not eat them. They were worried after all that time a mutation would trigger a poisonous plant. Not one poisonous plant was ever reported.
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  #18  
Old 08-30-2007, 01:15 PM
dangermom dangermom is offline
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Well, like I said, it's possible I made the whole thing up in my head. Though it doesn't seem like the sort of thing I would make up. I just wanted to know if anyone had ever heard of such a thing.

I looked through all the catalog pictures (and I"m pretty familiar with squash anway)--the mystery plant looks nothing like them. I've never seen anything like it. I'ts greenish-white with mottled green stripes.
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  #19  
Old 08-30-2007, 02:07 PM
Anne Neville Anne Neville is offline
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Whatever it is, "poisonous volunteer squash" would make a great band name.
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  #20  
Old 08-30-2007, 03:26 PM
Ogre Ogre is offline
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Post a pic somewhere.
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