Agricultural Research Division of IANR


Date of this Version



HORTSCIENCE 35(4):776–777. 2000.


Copyright 2000 American Society for Horticultural Science. Used by permission.


Butternut squash (Cucurbita moschata Duch. Ex Poir) is one of the most popular winter squashes grown in the United States. However, current consumers not only bake but also microwave squash. The flesh is much thinner at the bulb end of the fruit around the seed cavity than in the neck of the typical butternut squash so that the whole fruit does not cook uniformly during the microwave process. A smaller butternut type squash with a more uniform flesh thickness around most of the seed cavity would be expected to cook more uniformly in the microwave and would be useful to home gardeners and for the fresh market, but not for processors.

A novel, small-sized, flavorful, flat-shouldered, globe-shaped fruit line NE-RBN-4 of butternut quality was developed and released in 1997 as ‘Butterbowl’ (Fig. 1). No winter squash with these characteristics is presently available for consumers. A local panel expressed a strong interest in this squash because of its small size, excellent cooked quality, and attractive shape.


Segregation of plants with crookneck, long straight necks, short necks, pear, and nearround to flat-shouldered, globe fruit shapes were observed in the F2 generation of the cross of true breeding crookneck lines NE-BNCR- 67-1-7 x Yellow Cushaw (Agway Co., Syracuse, N.Y.) (Ibrahim et al., 1973). The mutant BNCR-67-1-7 was selected in ‘Butternut 23’ by the senior author. A number of S4 inbred lines were derived subsequently from selfing circumthe F2 plants with the novel neckless fruit. Seed was saved from an open-pollinated (OP) flat-shouldered, globe-shaped fruit of one of the S4 lines. An S6 inbred line NE-RBN-4 was subsequently derived from selfing the above OP progeny and after testing was released with the name ‘Butterbowl’.


‘Butterbowl’ and two standard butternut cultivars, ‘Waltham’ and ‘Ponca’, were evaluated in field trials over 3 years (1992, 1994, 1995) at Lincoln, Nebr. Single-row plots of each cultivar were spaced 2.4 m apart, with five plants spaced 1.2 m apart within rows in a randomized complete-block design with five replications. Mean marketable fruit weight, fruit yield, and days to maturity were recorded.

The reactions of the cultivars to the following disease and insect pests were recorded: black rot on fruit caused by the fungus Didymella bryoniae (Auersw.) Rehm [anamorph: Phoma cucurbitacearum (Fr) Sacc] (at harvest); bacterial spot on foliage caused by Xanthomonas campestris pv. cucurbitae (Bryon) Dowson (early August); powdery mildew on leaves caused by Erysiphe cichoracearum DC (end of August); and vine borer injury (Melitia cucurbitae Harris) (at harvest).

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