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Kingdom: Plantae
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Division: Magnoliophyta
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Class: Magnoliopsida
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Order: Cucurbitales
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Superfamily: {{{superfamilia}}}
Family: Cucurbitaceae
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Genus: Cucurbita spp.
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Binomial name
Trinomial name
Type Species
C. maxima

C. mixta
C. moschata
C. pepo


A pumpkin is a squash fruit that grows as a gourd from a trailing vine of certain species in the genus Cucurbita. Although native to the Western hemisphere, pumpkins are cultivated in North America, continental Europe, Australia, New Zealand, India and some other countries. Cucurbita species referred to as pumpkins include Cucurbita pepo, Cucurbita maxima, Cucurbita mixta, and Cucurbita moschata.

The pumpkin varies greatly in form, but is generally oblong or ovoid in shape. The rind is smooth and varies in color between cultivars. Although orange is the most common color, some fruits are dark green, pale green, orange-yellow, white, red and gray. Large specimens acquire a weight of 40 to 80 lb (18 to 36 kg), but smaller fruits are more frequently encountered.

Although the pumpkin is botanically classified as a fruit (the ripened ovary of a flowering plant), it is widely regarded as a vegetable. The pumpkin's insides are commonly eaten, cooked and served in dishes such as pumpkin pie, pumpkin bread, and pumpkin soup; the seeds can be roasted for consumption as well.




Main article: Pumpkin cultivation
Pumpkins growing in a field

Pumpkins have historically been pollinated by the native squash bee Peponapis pruinosa, but this bee has declined, probably due to pesticide sensitivity, and today most commercial plantings are pollinated by honeybees. One hive per acre (4,000 m² per hive) is recommended by the United States of America (US) Department of Agriculture. Gardeners with a shortage of bees, however, often have to hand pollinate. Inadequately pollinated pumpkins usually start growing but abort before full development. An opportunistic fungus is also sometimes blamed for abortions.

Pumpkin Field

Pumpkins have male and female flowers, the latter distinguished by the small ovary at the base of the petals. The bright, colorful flowers are short-lived and may open for as little as one day.



When ripe, the pumpkin can be boiled, baked, or roasted, or made into various kinds of pie, a traditional staple of Canadian and American Thanksgiving, alone or mixed with other fruit; while small and green it may be eaten in the same way as the vegetable marrow. It can also be eaten mashed or incorporated into soup. If milk is poured into a pumpkin and baked, it can be made into a pudding. In the Middle East, pumpkin is used for sweet dishes; a well-known sweet delicacy is called halawa yaqtin. In South Asian countries such as India, pumpkin is cooked with butter, sugar, and spices; this dish is called kadu ka halwa. In Australia, pumpkin is often roasted in conjunction with other vegetables. In Japan, small pumpkins are served in savory dishes, including tempura. In Thailand, small pumpkins are steamed with custard inside and served as a dessert. Finally, pumpkin can be used to flavor both alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages.

Pumpkin seeds

The hulled or semi-hulled seeds of pumpkins can be roasted and eaten as a snack, similar to the sunflower seed. Pumpkin seeds can be prepared for eating by first separating them from the orange pumpkin flesh, then coating them in a generally salty sauce (Worcestershire sauce, for example), after which the seeds are distributed upon a baking sheet, and then cooked in an oven at a relatively low temperature for a long period of time.

Pumpkin seeds are a good source of iron, zinc, essential fatty acids, potassium, and magnesium. Pumpkin seeds may also promote prostate health since components in pumpkin seed oil appears to interrupt the triggering of prostate cell multiplication by testosterone and DHT.[1] Removing the white hull of the pumpkin seed reveals an edible, green-colored seed inside that is commonly referred to as a pepita in North and South America.

One gram of pumpkin seed protein contains as much tryptophan as a full glass of milk [2].

Austria is a well-known producer of pumpkin seed oil.

Pumpkin information


  • The pumpkin is the state fruit of New Hampshire.
  • The largest pumpkin on record weighed 1689 lb (766 kg) and was grown by Joe Jutras in 2007. The largest pumpkins are really squash, Cucurbita maxima. They were culminated from the hubbard squash genotype, crossed with kabocha-pumpkin types by enthusiast farmers through intermittent effort since the early 1800s. As such germplasm is commercially provocative, a U.S. legal right was granted for the rounder phenotypes, levying them as constituting a variety, with the appellation "Atlantic Giant." Processually this phenotype graduated back into the public domain, except now it had the name Atlantic Giant on its record (see USDA PVP # 8500204).
  • If you multiply the number of fruiting sections in a field pumpkin (C. pepo variety) by 16 it is the number of seeds in the pumpkin, give or take 10 or so. Guessing the number of seeds in the pumpkin is a game sometimes played by children.
  • Pumpkins are orange because they contain massive amounts of lutein, alpha- and beta-carotene. These nutrients turn to vitamin A in the body.
  • In Korea and Japan, the word translating to "pumpkin" is a slang term for an unattractive woman.[3] In the American South and Midwest, however, the term "pumpkin" is sometimes used as an endearment.

Activities involving pumpkins


A pumpkin carved into a Jack-o'-lantern for Halloween.

Using pumpkins as lanterns at Halloween is based on an ancient Celtic custom brought to America by Irish immigrants.[citation needed] All Hallows Eve on 31 October marked the New Year of the Celtic calendar year, the Festival of Samhain, and on that night hollowed-out turnips, beets and rutabagas with candles inside them were placed on windowsills and porches[citation needed] to welcome home the spirits of deceased ancestors and ward off evil spirits and a restless soul called "Stingy Jack," hence the name "Jack-o-lantern". On Halloween night, Linus Van Pelt of the comic strip Peanuts waits in a pumpkin patch for "the Great Pumpkin", a fictional pumpkin with many of Santa Claus's characteristics, which seems to exist only in his imagination.


Pumpkin chucking is a competitive activity in which teams build various mechanical devices designed to throw a pumpkin as far as possible. Catapults, trebuchets, ballistas and air cannons are the most common mechanisms. Some pumpkin chuckers grow special varieties of pumpkin, bred and grown under special conditions intended to improve the pumpkin's chances of surviving being thrown.

Pumpkin festivals

Pumpkin growers often compete to see whose pumpkins are the most massive. Festivals are often dedicated to the pumpkin and these competitions.

Circleville, Ohio, holds a big festival each year, the Circleville Pumpkin Show.

Competitive Weight Pumpkins

Half Moon Bay, California, holds the annual Pumpkin and Arts Festival which includes the World Champion Pumpkin Weigh-Off. Farmers from all over the west compete to determine who can grow the greatest gourd [4]. The winning pumpkin regularly tops the scale at more than 1200 pounds. The Pumpkin Festival draws over 250,000 visitors each year.[5] Morton, Illinois, the self-declared pumpkin capital of the world,[6] has held a Pumpkin Festival since 1966. The town, where Nestlé's pumpkin packing plant is located (and where 90% of canned pumpkins eaten in the US are processed) carved and lit pumpkins in one place, a record which the town held for several years before losing it to Boston, Massachusetts in 2006. A large contributor of pumpkins to the festival is local Keene State College which hosts an event called "Pumpkin Lobotomy" on their main quad. Usually held the day before the festival itself, Pumpkin Lobotomy has the air of a large party, with the school providing pumpkins and carving instruments alike (though some students prefer to use their own) and music provided by college radio station, WKNH. The 2007 Pumpkin Fest is scheduled for Saturday, October 20.

Giant pumpkin records

The world record pumpkin for 2007 is 1689 pounds grown by Joe Jutras in Topsfield, MA[7]

See also




  1. World's Healthiest Foods
  2. [1]
  3. [2]
  4. [3]Gargantuan Gourd Weigh-Off
  5. [4]History of Half Moon Bay Pumpkin Festival
  6. Morton Pumpkin Festival
  7. http://pumpkinnook.com/

External links

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