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Pumpkin, Cucurbita maxima / Cucurbitaceae
Pumpkin
In general, the term "pumpkin’ is applied to a group which is botanically known as ‘winter squash’, including the following species:

- "Cucurbita maxima Duchesne’: Round and soft stems, indeterminate growth, not very hairy, large leaves, orbicular, not lobed, heart-shaped on the base, yellow flowers and with the peduncle of insertion of cylindrical shape, not furrowed. Voluminous fruits, of variable colour and orange flesh, soft or hard. Within this species, the most important varieties are: Var. Maxima Duchesne (to which the varieties Verde de España, Dulce de Horno, Mammoth, etc. belong), and Var. turbaniformis Alef. (the ovary sticks out fdrom the receptacle, as all pumpkins grouped under the name "turban-shaped’, like "Buttercup", "Essex Hybrid", "French Hybrid".

- "Cucurbita moschata Duchesne’: Angular, bristled stems, indeterminate hair and growth, slightly erect leaves, sometimes velvety, with whitish spots, not very lobed, wide and furrowed peduncle of insertion in the fruit. Yellow flowers with large and erect petals. Variable fruits of dull colour. The flesh has the typical "musky’ taste and it is not very hard. Among the varieties cultivated: Cabello de Angel, Totanera, First (recent American variety).

- "Cucurbita mixta Pang": Strong angular stem, without sharpness, wide leaves, heart-shaped, barely lobed, sometimes with whitish spots. Wide, but not widened peduncle in the insertion of the fruit. Variable fruits, of soft or hard flesh, generally of dull colour.

Some cultivars of Cucurbita pepo L. are also regarded as " pumpkins’ although this species is considered as " summer squash’; most of the varieties are part of what we know as " courgettes’.

Others "pumpkins’ not belonging to the genus Cucurbita are:

- "Lagenaria siceraria (Molina) Standl": Pumpkin of white flowers, used to make several utensils like bowls, bottles, buckets, etc.

- "Lufa cylindrica Roem": Or vegetable sponge, used for several purposes, like human food, bath sponge, for coating military helmets, to extract oil from its seeds, etc.

- "Sechium edule (Jacq.) Swartz or chayote’: Very popular in Mexico, both its fruit and root are boiled. In some countries, the tender stems and leaves are used to make soups.

There is a relatively short supply of hybrid varieties, like Imperial delite, Tivoli, Zenith; most of the cultivation comes from varieties of open pollination.
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