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Abóbora japonesa Cucurbita maxima X C. moschata

Abóbora japonesa grown in Massachusetts for sale at a market in Framingham Mass. in 2007 (Photo by Maria Moreira)

Abóbora japonesa (Japanese squash in Portuguese) is the result of crossing Cucurbita maxima and Cucurbita moschata. The first commercial hybrid, ‘Tetsukabuto’, was developed in Japan. It was introduced to Brazil in 1960 in the state of Minas Gerais, which is now the major producer of abóbora híbrida in Brazil.

This hybrid is also called abóbora híbrida and abóbora moranga; some people in Brazil call it kabutia, a Japanese translation for pumpkin.

Abóbora japonesa is an important vegetable in many Brazilian recipes including salads, soups, and meat dishes. It can also be canned or used as a baby food. Consumers look for the deep orange flesh and because of this it is commonly sold halved and wrapped in plastic.

Abóbora japonesa at a supermarket in Vicosa, MG, Brazil (Photo by Frank Mangan)

Due to the male flowers being sterile, a pollinator variety must be planted with the hybrid variety. In Brazil, the varieties abóbora moranga, which should be planted 15 days before the hybrid, or abóbora italiana, which should be planted 15 days later than the hybrid. It is recommended to plant one pollinator for every 5-6 hybrid plants in a row, or 1 row of pollinator for each 5-6 rows of the hybrid.

Additional production practices will be the same for winter squash and pumpkin. For more information on the production and management of abóbora híbrida go to The New England Vegetable Management Guide and click on "pumpkin and squash".

Abóbora japonesa at the terminal market in Belo Horizonte, MG, Brazil (Photo by Raquel Uchôa de Mendonça)

Seed Sources
Popular commercial varieties in Brazil are “Tetsukabuto”, “Suprema”, and “Triunfo”. “Tetsukabuto” is available through Evergreen seeds company Evergreenseeds . Look under “Oriental Squash” and “Japanese Squash, Hybrid Tetsukabuto”.

Nutrional Information
Serving Size 100g : Calories 45. Carbohydrate (g) 11.5. Protein (g) 1. Fat (g) 0.1. Fiber (g) 2. Potassium (mg) 352. Calcium (mg) 50. Iron (mg) 0.7. Vitamin A (IU) 2570

Nutrition Documents
Brazilian squash sauté
Brazilian Squash Soup
Jacquie Harris’ Brazilian Squash Dessert
Brazilian squash sauté - Portuguese

A collaborative project produced by: Rutgers Cooperative Extension, UMASS Extension, and Cornell Cooperative ExtensionSponsored in part by: RMA and Northeast Region SARE
WorldCrops - World Crops for the Northeastern United States