Selected Writings (1949)
(originally published in
Agronom, No. 4, 1925)
The Noodle Squash
When the flowers of a runnerless bush squash (Curcurbita pepo) were fertilized with pollen from an early-ripening melon with vegetative period of fifty days, most of the setting fruit developed for forty-fifty days, but then their growth ceased and after a short time they spoiled and rotted without reaching complete maturity and proper seed formation; only rare specimens, apparently deviating in their nature entirely in the direction of the squash, attained maturity normally, kept until midwinter, and produced germinable seeds.
There were no marked changes in the structure of the flesh or, particularly, in the appearance of the seedlings the following yearonly that the flesh was of somewhat softer texture and more sweetish flavour.
Since the fertilized flowers had been meticulously castrated at a suitably early date, and since after pollenation they had been guarded carefully against the entry of squash pollen, one necessarily suspected that these fruits were the result of parthenogenetic development of the egg cell; but when the second, third and fourth generations of the hybrids were raised, fertilization with melon pollen being repeated each year, the number of fruits attaining full development increased considerably, and the whole flesh layer assumed the form of noodlelike strings spiralling down the fruit; these string-skeins unwind easily, starting at the top of the fruit, going down and ending at the top again. In dried form, these strings keep well and are very palatable in soup or as a vegetable with roasts. The fruit has a firm outer rind three millimetres thick. I append a photograph of a vertical section of such a fruit, with the whole structure of this noodle squash clearly visible.
CybeRose: I have added a picture of a Spaghetti Squash for comparison, which may be the plant Michurin described. The seeds of this variety are reportedly from Italy, where it is an heirloom variety. Whether it came from Russia is an open question and any further information would be appreciated.