U.S. Department of Agriculture: Agricultural Research Service, Lincoln, Nebraska


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Date of this Version



Published in Ecological Effects of Pest Resistance Genes in Managed Ecosystems.


Cucumber (Cucumis sativus L.) originated in India, melon (C. melo L.) and watermelon (Citrullus lanatus) in Africa, and squash, pumpkin, and gourd (Cucurbita spp.) in the Americas. Thus, cucumber, melon, and watermelon (including citron) are relatively recent introductions to the New World. Most domesticated species of Cucurbita were introduced from Mexico, Central America, and South America with the migration of native Americans centuries earlier. Wax gourd (Benincasa hispida (Thunb.) Logr.) is from Southeast Asia. Bottle gourd (Lagenaria siceraria (Molina) Stand.) is of African origin. South Asia is the probable center of origin for cultivated species of Luffa. Bitter melon (Momordica charantia L.) is a tropical Old World species. Chayote (Sechium edule (Jacq.) Swartz) is a New World species from southern Mexico and Central America.