So you want to know a little more about that orange squash you set out on your porch every year at Halloween. Here is the low down on some stuff you may not have known about our lovable squash.What the heck is a pumpkin?

The Pumpkin lies within the species "Cucurbita" and includes squashes and cucumbers. Naturally there are variations within the species. Here's a look at the most common varieties of pumpkins.

Cucurbita Moschata - These are the common varieties that you purchase usually canned to make that delicious Pumpkin pie. The Pumpkin is usually oblong in shape. This variety also includes the Butternut Squash among others.

Cucurbita Pepo - This is your common everyday Jack-o-Lantern you carve and set outside to greet your Trick-or-Treaters on Halloween. This variety also includes the miniature version of the Jack-o-Lantern you can place in your hand as well as most summer squashes and gourds.

Cucurbita Maxima - This of course is the giant of all pumpkins that you may see at a weigh-off at a festival and includes many varieties. Most winter squashes and banana squashes are included in this category.

Cucurbita Mixta - This is the familiar "white" version of the Jack-o-Lantern and miniature that you have seen gain popularity in recent years as well as others.I'm not going to explain all the varieties, sizes, shapes, colors and scientific stuff that I don't even understand. But if you want to know things like growing, diseases and such, then go here.

Some Fun Facts
- The pumpkin originated from Central America. Evidence of this dates as far back as 7,000 years from the regions of Mexico.

- The Native Americans made a staple out of pumpkin long before the arrival of the Pilgrims.

- In early colonial times, the pumpkin was used as an ingredient for the crust of pies, not the filling.- The pumpkin is NOT a vegetable. It is technically a fruit.

- The heaviest pumpkin on record weighed an astounding 1,262 lbs. That's a lot of pies!

- Pumpkins were once recommended for curing snake bites and removing freckles.

- The name pumpkin orginated from the Greek word "pepon" – meaning "large melon."

- The pumpkin flowers are edible.

I hope this will shed some light on the mysteries of my favorite squash.


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