Cucurbits are herbaceous annuals or perennials with a storage root and mostly moist vines. These plants grow either prostrate along the ground or climb using tendrils. Plants rarely grow as trees, shrubs, or bushes. The tendrils can grow branched or simple and generated at the petiole base. There are usually four arched filaments coiling with an adhesive texture. Leaves can range from simple to palmately compound. The flowers are unisexual, so the plants are male or female, rarely hermaphroditic.
- Snake gourd (Trichosanthes cucumerina)
- Bitter gourd (Momordica charantia)
- Luffa (Luffa acutangula)
- Cucumber (Cucumis sativus)
Pest and Diseases of Cucurbits
- Aulacophora beetle
- Epilachna beetle
- Melon fly
- Downy mildew
- Powdery mildew
- Cucumber mosaic virus
Pests of Cucurbits
1. Aulacophora Beetle (Aulacophora spp.)
Adult beetles feed on leaves, flowers, and fruits of vegetables. Larvae damage to the roof and make holes in the stem.
2. Epilachna Beetle (Epilachna varivestis)
Adult feeds on leaves of cucurbitaceous plants. Circles on the leaf area can be seen. Field sanitation and the use of insecticides ( midaclopid) are the main control methods.
3. Melon Fly (Bactrocera cucurbitae)
Mainly the adult lays eggs on cucurbits plants. Feeding is done by the larvae. Mature attack fruits develop a water-soaked appearance. Cause the fruit rot. Young fruits drop. Here are some controlling methods of the melon fly; Cover fruits by using polythene (Mechanical barrier). Hanging pheromone traps (Methyl eugenol). Field sanitation. Fume the soil around the plant. Use insecticides.
Diseases of Cucurbits
1. Downy Mildew
Appear on leaves as light green-yellow spots. Lower leaf surface may show white to grayish purple mold.
2. Powdery Mildew
White powdery spots on the leaves and stems. Here are some control methods for Powdery mildew; maintain healthy plants, don’t water plants at night, and reduce plant density.
3. Cucumber Mosaic Virus
Causes foliar mosaic and mottled fruit. Younger leaves start to curl downwards and become destroyed. Damage to the fruit can be severe and vary from yellow to green mosaic with a bumpy surface. Plant resistant cultivars. Eradicate weeds and hosts. Cut and burn the infected plants. Use insecticides to control the vector.