Acorn Butternut Squash Crossbreed

deanriowa(4b)October 9, 2008

I planted Table Queen Acorn and Waltham Butternut squash next to each other, and now where the vines intermixed the acorn shaped squash is a pretty light yellow color and not green.

Can I assume they did infact crossbreed and what are my chances if I saved seeds and planted them again they would be acorn shaped and yellow.

I thought the children of cross breed squash would look like the parents and the saved seeds would change their shape and/or color?



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1. If this is your first planting with known quality seeds, no chance of crossbreeding showing up. Any crossbreeding only shows up when the seeds are saved for a new generation.
2. Acorns are C. pepo and butternuts are C. moschata. I have never encountered a cross between the two either naturally or engineered.
3. While Table Queen will turn yellow/orange when fully ripe, they should be dark green until storage. Is it possible that that you have a different acorn? They come in a variety of shades and colors. The other possibilty is that you have stress on vines that results in premature aging.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2008 at 3:48PM
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I forgot to mentioned that the yellow ones were also the biggest of all of the Acorn squash I planted.

The only acorn yellow ones are exactly where they overlap with the Butternut plants.

Premature aging causes a the color to change from green to yellow?


    Bookmark   October 9, 2008 at 4:28PM
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It's definately not a crossbreed. Maybe a golden variety got mixed in with the seed pack?

    Bookmark   October 9, 2008 at 4:31PM
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I doubt it is a mixed up seed as the only yellow ones are exactly in the overlap area only, all my other non overlapped ones are dark green.

I might save a few seeds and see what I get next year.


    Bookmark   October 9, 2008 at 4:45PM
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jwstell42(5 NY)


I'm not sure you are understanding, if these are seeds from a true packet, and not something you saved from last year, it is impossible they are a cross breed. Especially if there are two fruits which look different on the same plant. That clearly indicates stress to a certain part of the plant, which caused the yellowing of the skin.

Forget the fact that you are talking about two types of squashes that cannot be crossbred.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2008 at 5:25PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

I doubt it is a mixed up seed as the only yellow ones are exactly in the overlap area only

As already mentioned these 2 varieties will not cross, cannot cross, and even if they could you wouldn't see it this year.

So the yellow ones you are seeing are simply a result of 1) stresses such as nutrient deficiency on that part of the plant, excess water pooling around that part of the plant, excess sun exposure, or some sort of root damage or pest affecting only that particular branch of the plant. And yes, as acorn age they turn yellow.

Or 2) if you planted multiple seeds in the hill then the there is a slim possibility that one of the seeds was from one of the yellow acorn varieties and that is the branch you are seeing.

The most likely is #1.

Save the seed if you wish and what will grow from it next year, assuming no other problems, will be green acorn squash. ;)


    Bookmark   October 9, 2008 at 6:18PM
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Thank you for the clarification, that makes more since to me now. I still might save a couple seeds just to see what I get, but you are probably right.


    Bookmark   October 10, 2008 at 9:41AM
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zeedman Zone 5 Wisconsin

Dean, just a note about saving seeds for C. pepo. The species includes a wide range of types (zucchini, patty pan, spaghetti, hard-necked pumpkins, acorns, ornamental warted gourds). Because pumpkins & summer squashes are so popular, it is the most widely-grown of all the squashes... so it is the most likely to cross-pollinate with something grown by your neighbors. Squash flowers are outstanding pollen sources, and bees will fly great distances to feed on them.

As an example: My garden is at least 1000 feet from the nearest neighbor, so I felt safe growing squash for seed without isolation. For all but C. pepo, this has been the case. I grew bush acorns for seed two years ago, hidden within a large corn planting (to discourage borers - it helped). This year I did a mass planting of that seed, thinning down to the 18 strongest plants.

Of the 18 plants, 15 were normal. One still looked like a green acorn, but was round, not pointed. One was a semi-vining plant that bore a heavy crop of small orange acorn-like squash, also more rounded than normal (good tasting, though). The third oddity was a massive vining plant, that formed several pumpkins.

So the bottom line is... unless you hand-pollinate C. pepo squashes in urban or suburban areas, the seed is not likely to be pure. If you only save seed for yourself, this may not matter - it could even be interesting. But if you save seed to share with others, or if you really want to keep a variety pure, then isolation & hand-pollination is required.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2008 at 3:25PM
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I forgot to mention that I planted some zucchini green and yellow crookneck squash not more then 30 feet away. The Acorn color matches perfectly the yellow crookneck.

So can I assume the yellow crookneck squash crossbreed and gave color to my acorn squash?


    Bookmark   October 11, 2008 at 8:06PM
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It doesn't matter what you grew this year. That does not affect the way your squash looks this year.
Did you buy your seeds that you are growing this year, or did you save them from last year's garden?

If you bought the seed(I'm assuming you did,) a few things could of happened. One, it is possible that a seed for a white(yellow acorns are called white for some reason) acorn squash got mixed into your seed pkt. It seems that the squash looks yellow(see pic on link below) to you and not like it is mottled or old so it is possible a white cultivar. If you planted a few seeds together, it could give the impression of vine making 2 color types of squash when in fact it is 2 vines intertwined and one is making green and one is making yellow.
Two, it could be stress or less light as suggested above by other posters. I would imagine the color to be less uniform then.
Three, it could be a spontaneous mutation on the vine. This is a rare occurrence. A plant will grow fruits as they normally appear and then they will branch off and produce fruit of a different color. There are already white acorns on the market so if this has indeed actually happened it is only a big deal to you since white acorn squashes are already on the market.

If you saved seeds from last year, you could experience all kinds of variations. If your seed saved was from a hybrid acorn or just plain old crossed in the garden seed, many colors and/or shapes could occur.

If you end up saving seed from this season, you will most likely see all kinds of variation since you grew squash in the same C. pepo family. They cross breed quite readily. So even if you did have a true white acorn appear(from a stray seed or mutation) in your garden, it will not come true next year being the flowers from it probably cross pollinated with one of your other squash like the crookneck or most likely the green acorns it was growing with anyway.

I hope I explained this well enough,

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   October 15, 2008 at 9:53AM
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