African Journal of
Agricultural Research

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Agric. Res.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1991-637X
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJAR
  • Start Year: 2006
  • Published Articles: 6688

Full Length Research Paper

Indigenous knowledge of the traditional vegetable pumpkin (Cucurbita maxima/moschata) from Zimbabwe

Oswell Farai Ndoro2, Rufaro M. Madakadze1*, Susan Kageler2 and Arnold B. Mashingaidze2
1Department of Agriculture, University of Zululand, P Bag X1001, KwaDlangezwa, Empangeni, 3886, South Africa. 2Department of Crop Science, University of Zimbabwe, P O. Box MP 167, Mount Pleasant, Harare, Zimbabwe.
Email: [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 01 November 2007
  •  Published: 31 December 2007


A survey was conducted in four districts of Manicaland province of Zimbabwe on pumpkin(Cucurbita maxima or Cucurbita moschata) to document ethnobotanical knowledge of the pumpkin and to identify the local landraces. Informal surveys for key informants, formal surveys and focus group discussions and other participatory rural appraisal approaches were used in the study. Seven distinct landraces of pumpkin were identified by local names as “Nzunzu”, “Ditimanga”, “Ndodo”, “Hokore”, “Musatani”, “Dasanana”, and “Muzwere”. Landrace “Nzunzu” was the most popular followed by “Ditimanga” and “Ndodo”. The most prevalent landraces by area were “Nzunzu” (65% of respondents), followed by “Ditimanga”, “Hokore” and “Musatani”. One landrace (Musatani), was specifically grown by the local people as a leafy vegetable mainly and was available all year round.  Landrace “Nzunzu” had large variegated fruit while “Ditimanga” has large creamy yellow to white fruit. Landraces “Nzunzu”, “Hokore” and “Ndodo” have variegated leaves perceived to be resistant to powdery mildew while the rest of the landraces had plain leaves. The pumpkin is grown mostly in intercrops mainly with maize, (85 % respondents) and was planted and grown mainly in summer  (67%) as the crop is damaged by frost.  Pumpkin is mainly fertilized by cattle manure and most respondents (62%) do not apply an N side dress to the crop. Leaf harvest started 2 - 3 weeks after emergence in landraces such as “Nzunzu” and “Ditimanga” while the other landraces can be started at about 4 weeks after emergence. The pumpkin leaves are consumed 3 - 4 times a week during the rainy season. The main problem during production of pumpkin was insect pests and diseases. Farmers use mainly retained seed (71.9%) for planting that is stored in any available container in the home. This study highlighted local indigenous knowledge of pumpkins and established a baseline of the cultural practices carried out by smallholder farmers.


Key words: Pumpkin, traditional vegetables, landraces, indigenous knowledge, Zimbabwe and participatory approaches.