Agronomy and Horticulture Department


Date of this Version



HORTSCIENCE 30(5):1106–1107. 1995.


Copyright 1995 American Society for Horticultural Science. Used by Permission.


‘Lakota’ is a novel, smooth- and thinskinned, small-fruited, early maturing, ovoidshaped winter squash [Cucurbita maxima (Duch.)] (Fig.1). Plants produce fruit exhibiting various degrees of green and orange variegated patterns, along with some solid green and orange fruit. ‘Lakota’ was released because of its novel decorative value and good baking quality. A similar winter squash is not available commercially.


Seeds of the winter squash population from which ‘Lakota’ was selected were donated to the Univ. of Nebraska, Lincoln, by A.G., who originally received the seed from the late Martha Newman, Alliance, Neb. By examining the Quarter Master Reports (1820), A.G. was able to determine that the original squash landrace was grown by Native Americans living along the Missouri Valley and that this squash also was grown in gardens by troops stationed at Fort Atkinson in northeastern Nebraska; subsequently, troops stationed at the later-developed Fort Robinson (1870 to 1875) in northwestern Nebraska obtained seeds of this squash landrace from Fort Atkinson, grew it in their gardens, and stored it in cellars for use during the winter (U.S. Army Quarter Master Reports for Fort Robinson, 1870). Newman, living on a homestead in northwestern Nebraska, apparently received seeds of the squash landrace from her brother, Alfred Iossi, who was a civilian employee at Fort Robinson (the late Martha Newman, personal communication). Eventually, the Newman family moved to Alliance in western Nebraska, brought the seeds with them, and raised the squash each year. Although this squash has excellent baking quality (personal observation), it was never introduced into commerce.

Fruit of the original landrace were described as being elongated (75 to 85 cm long, 20 to 25 cm in diameter) and cylindrical, with dark green and orange variegated skin patterns. Although the fruit shape is nearly similar, it is smaller than the C. maxima banana type (Casttetter and Erwin, 1927). The Winnebago Indians of eastern Nebraska also grew a C. maxima landrace with similarly shaped fruit, but the fruit were smaller, warty, and dark green. ‘Winnebago’, which was derived from this landrace, was introduced by Oscar H. Will Co. in the 1920s (Casttetter and Erwin, 1927; Tapley et al., 1937).

In Lincoln, only one of 200 plants grown from the seed donated by A.G. produced fruit resembling the original description (elongated and cylindrical with mottled orange and green skin color pattern). The segregation pattern of fruit shape suggested that the original landrace was outcrossed to hubbard squash because many fruit were ovoid and some were ovoid with pointed ends, similar to those of hubbard squash. Casttetter and Erwin (1927) described hubbard squash as “nearly spherical, tapering into a neck at the stem end and to [a] curved, pointed projection at the blossom end.” According to Newman, her population also deviated from the original type, suggesting that the original landrace was outcrossed in her garden in Alliance during the intervening years (personal communication). The variation in fruit shape, color, and size in the population grown at Lincoln provided an opportunity to select for a novel, decorative, small, ovoid squash of good baking quality.