The elusive Okeechobee Gourd
The Okeechobee Gourd
or Indian Pumpkin
Photo credit: Sherry Williams/Seminole County

 

The Endangered Plants of Florida

 

 

The Okeechobee Gourd or Indian Pumpkin
Cucurbita okeechobeensis

 

Florida, La Florida, as it was named by Spanish explorer

Ponce De Leon, in the early 1500's, means Land of the Flowers.

We certainly do attempt to live up to the name!


This very rare Gourd was in the past found primarily

along the southern shores of Lake Okeechobee

in Alligator nests among the Pond Apple orchards.

An Okeechobee Gourd Flower
The Okeechobee Gourd Flower
Photo credit: Sherry Williams/Seminole County

An Okeechobee Gourd
Okeechobee Gourd
Photo credit: Marc Minno/USFWS

 

However by the 1930's, this Habitat had been 95% decimated

by the growing spread of agriculture in the area.

An Okeechobee Gourd

In 1994, the Gourd was discovered along the St. John's River

in Volusia county, near willows and elderberries

and again in the nests of Alligators.

An immature Okeechobee Gourd

An immature Okeechobee Gourd
Photo credit: sfwmd.gov

 

The Okeechobee Gourd remains an elusive,

but beautiful reminder of the very fragile Ecosystem

which exists in Florida, indeed in the whole of Earth.

 


Places to learn more:

 

Agricultural Biodiversity web log

Fire Threatens Wild Gourd

 

Business Net

Rediscovery of Endangered Okeechobee Gourd

 

Center for Plant Conservation

Plant Profile

 

Find Articles

Rediscovery of Endangered Okeechobee Gourd

 

Florida DEP

Drought and Tree Planting Help the Gourd

 

University of Florida

Okeechobee Gourd

 

USDA

Plant Profile

 


 

Walking with the Alligators

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Last edited October 7, 2017

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