pumpkin

/pump"kin/ or, commonly, /pung"kin/, n.
1. a large, edible, orange-yellow fruit borne by a coarse, decumbent vine, Cucurbita pepo, of the gourd family.
2. the similar fruit of any of several related species, as C. maxima or C. moschata.
3. a plant bearing such fruit.
[1640-50; alter. of pumpion (see -KIN), var. of pompon < MF, nasalized var. of popon melon, earlier pepon < L pepon- (s. of pepo) < Gk pépon kind of melon]

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Fruit of certain varieties of Cucurbita pepo or C. moschata, of the gourd family.

In the U.S., the thick-growing, small-fruited bush, or nontrailing, varieties of C. pepo are called squash, and the long-season, long-trailing, large-fruited varieties are called pumpkin. Pumpkins produce very long vines and large (9–18 lb [4–8 kg]), globe-shaped, orange fruits. Giant and miniature varieties are available. The usually lightly furrowed or ribbed rind is smooth, and the fruit stem is hard and woody. Pumpkins mature in early autumn and can be stored for a few months in a dry, warm place. They are commonly grown in North America, Britain, and Europe for human food and livestock feed. In Europe pumpkin is served mainly as a vegetable; in the U.S. and Canada pumpkin pie is a traditional Thanksgiving and Christmas dessert. Pumpkins are used in the U.S. for Halloween decorations.

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plant
 fruit of certain varieties of Cucurbita pepo or of C. moschata, members of the family Cucurbitaceae. The names pumpkin and squash, especially in the United States, are applied inconsistently to certain varieties of both these species. The quick-growing, small-fruited bush, or nontrailing, varieties of C. pepo are called squash (q.v.) in America, while the long-season, long-trailing, large-fruited varieties are called pumpkin.

      The fruits are large, generally 4–8 kg (9–18 pounds) or more, are yellowish to orange in colour, and vary from oblate through globular to oblong. The rind is smooth and usually lightly furrowed or ribbed; the fruit stem is hard and woody, ridged or angled, and in C. pepo not flared at its point of attachment to the fruit. The very largest varieties of pumpkin are called winter squash, C. maxima, and may weigh 34 kg (75 pounds) or more. Pumpkins produce very long vines and are planted individually or in twos or threes on little hills about 2.5 to 3 m (8 to 10 feet) apart. Pumpkins mature in early autumn, and those of C. maxima can be stored for a few months in a dry place well above freezing temperatures.

      Pumpkins are commonly grown in North America, Great Britain, and Europe for human food and also for livestock feed. The rind is removed, and when cooked the pulp is edible for humans. In Europe pumpkin is mainly served as a vegetable; in the United States and Canada pumpkin pie is a traditional Thanksgiving and Christmas dessert. The fruit is also used in puddings and soups. It may be used interchangeably with squash in various prepared dishes. Pumpkins are used in the United States as Halloween decorations, one such being the jack-o'-lantern, in which the interior of the pumpkin is cleaned out and a light inserted to shine through a face carved through the wall of the fruit.

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Universalium. 2010.

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