Online Encyclopedia

PUMPKIN

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V22, Page 647 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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PUMPKIN, the fruit of the gourd Cucurbita Pepo, well-known in English cottage gardens, and largely cultivated in continental Europe and North America. The pumpkin varies much in form, being sometimes nearly globular, but more generally oblong or ovoid in shape; the rind is smooth and very variable in colour. It is a useful plant to the American backwoods farmer, yielding, both in the ripe and unripe condition, a valuable fodder for his cattle and pigs, being frequently planted at intervals among the maize that constitutes his chief crop. The larger kinds acquire a weight of 40 to 80 lb but smaller varieties are in more esteem for garden culture. When ripe, the pumpkin is boiled or baked, or made into various kinds of pie, alone or mixed with other fruit; while small and green it may be eaten like the vegetable marrow. The name squash is applied in America to this and other species of the genus Cucurbita. The name is adapted from an American Indian word (see L. H. Bailey, Cyclopaedia of American Horticulture, where is a fuller account of the squashes). Summer squashes are mostly varieties of C. Pepo; winter squashes are either C. maxima or C. moschata, chiefly the former. The varieties of pumpkins and squashes are numerous and of great variety in size and shape; it is difficult to keep them pure if various kinds are grown together, but the true squashes (C. maxima) do not hybridize with the true pumpkin species. If carefully handled to avoid cracking of the skin, and kept dry and fairly warm, winter squashes may be kept for months.
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