Pumpkin

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Pumpkins FrenchMarketPumpkinsB.jpg
Pumpkins

A pumpkin is a cultivar of winter squash that is round with smooth, slightly ribbed skin, and is most often deep yellow to orange in coloration. [1] The thick shell contains the seeds and pulp. The name is most commonly used for cultivars of Cucurbita pepo , but some cultivars of Cucurbita maxima , C. argyrosperma , and C. moschata with similar appearance are also sometimes called "pumpkin". [1]

Contents

Native to North America (northeastern Mexico and the southern United States), [1] pumpkins are one of the oldest domesticated plants, having been used as early as 7,500 to 5,000 BC. [1] Pumpkins are widely grown for commercial use and as food, aesthetics, and recreational purposes. Pumpkin pie, for instance, is a traditional part of Thanksgiving meals in Canada and the United States, and pumpkins are frequently carved as jack-o'-lanterns for decoration around Halloween, although commercially canned pumpkin purée and pumpkin pie fillings are usually made from different kinds of winter squash than the ones used for jack-o'-lanterns. [1] China and India combined account for half of the world's production of pumpkins.

A pumpkin flower attached to the vine Pumpkin flower.jpg
A pumpkin flower attached to the vine
Cross section of a pumpkin Cross section of pumpkin.jpg
Cross section of a pumpkin

Etymology and terminology

According to the Oxford English Dictionary , the English word pumpkin is derived from the Ancient Greek word pepon (πέπων) meaning "melon." [2] [3] Under this theory, the term transitioned through the Latin word peponem and the Middle French word pompon to the Early Modern English pompion, which was changed to pumpkin by 17th-century English colonists, shortly after encountering pumpkins upon their arrival in what is now the northeastern United States. [2]

An alternate derivation for pumpkin is the Massachusett word for the fruit, pôhpukun, meaning "grows forth round." [4] This term would likely have been used by the Wampanoag people (who speak the Wôpanâak dialect of Massachusett) when introducing pumpkins to English Pilgrims at Plymouth Colony, located in present-day Massachusetts. [5] The English word squash is also derived from a Massachusett word, variously transcribed as askꝏtasquash, [6] ashk8tasqash, or, in the closely-related Narragansett language, askútasquash. [7]

The term pumpkin has no agreed upon botanical or scientific meaning, [8] and is used interchangeably with "squash" and "winter squash". [1] In North America and the United Kingdom, pumpkin traditionally refers to only certain round orange varieties of winter squash, predominantly derived from Cucurbita pepo , while in New Zealand and Australian English, the term pumpkin generally refers to all winter squash. [9]

Description

Pumpkins, like other squash, originated in northeastern Mexico and southern United States. [1] The oldest evidence were pumpkin fragments dated between 7,000 and 5,500 BC found in Mexico. [1] Pumpkin fruits are a type of botanical berry known as a pepo. [1] [10]

Traditional C. pepo pumpkins generally weigh between 3 and 8 kilograms (6 and 18 lb), though the largest cultivars (of the species C. maxima) regularly reach weights of over 34 kg (75 lb). [11]

The color of pumpkins derives from orange carotenoid pigments, including beta-cryptoxanthin, alpha and beta carotene, all of which are provitamin A compounds converted to vitamin A in the body. [12]

Taxonomy

All pumpkins are winter squash, mature fruit of certain species in the genus Cucurbita . Characteristics commonly used to define "pumpkin" include smooth and slightly ribbed skin, [13] and deep yellow to orange color. [13] Circa 2005, white pumpkins had become increasingly popular in the United States. [14] Other colors, including dark green (as with some oilseed pumpkins), also exist.

Giant pumpkins are large squash with a pumpkin-like appearance that grow to exceptional size, with the largest exceeding 1 ton in weight. [15] [16] Most are varieties of Cucurbita maxima , and were developed through the efforts of botanical societies and enthusiast farmers. [15]

Cultivation

Pumpkins are grown all around the world for a variety of reasons ranging from agricultural purposes (such as animal feed) to commercial and ornamental sales. [17] Of the seven continents, only Antarctica is unable to produce pumpkins. The traditional American pumpkin used for jack-o-lanterns is the Connecticut field variety. [17] [18] [19] [20]

Production

Pumpkin production – 2018
(includes squash and gourds)
Countrymillions of tonnes
Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg  China 8.1
Flag of India.svg  India 5.6
Flag of Ukraine.svg  Ukraine 1.3
Flag of Russia.svg  Russia 1.2
World27.6
Source: FAOSTAT of the United Nations [21]
Giant pumpkins CompetitivePumpkins.jpg
Giant pumpkins

In 2018, world production of pumpkins (including squash and gourds) was 27.6 million tonnes, with China and India accounting for half of the total. Ukraine and Russia each produced about one million tonnes. [21]

In the United States

A pumpkin patch in Winchester, Oregon Pumpkin Patch (Winchester, Oregon).jpg
A pumpkin patch in Winchester, Oregon

As one of the most popular crops in the United States, in 2017 over 680 million kilograms (1.5 billion pounds) of pumpkins were produced. [22] The top pumpkin-producing states include Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and California. [17]

According to the Illinois Department of Agriculture, 95% of the U.S. crop intended for processing is grown in Illinois. [23] Nestlé, operating under the brand name Libby's , produces 85% of the processed pumpkin in the United States, at their plant in Morton, Illinois. In the fall of 2009, rain in Illinois devastated the Nestlé crop, which combined with a relatively weak 2008 crop depleting that year's reserves resulted in a shortage affecting the entire country during the Thanksgiving holiday season. [24] Another shortage, somewhat less severe, affected the 2015 crop. [25] [26] The pumpkin crop grown in the western United States, which constitutes approximately 3-4% of the national crop, is primarily for the organic market. [27]

Pumpkins are a warm-weather crop that is usually planted in early July. The specific conditions necessary for growing pumpkins require that soil temperatures 8 centimetres (3 in) deep are at least 15.5 °C (60 °F) and that the soil holds water well. Pumpkin crops may suffer if there is a lack of water or because of cold temperatures (in this case, below 18 °C or 65 °F). Soil that is sandy with poor water retention or poorly drained soils that become waterlogged after heavy rain are both detrimental. Pumpkins are, however, rather hardy, and even if many leaves and portions of the vine are removed or damaged, the plant can very quickly re-grow secondary vines to replace what was removed. [22]

Pumpkins produce both a male and female flower; they must be fertilized, usually by bees. [22] Pumpkins have historically been pollinated by the native squash bee Peponapis pruinosa, but this bee has declined, probably at least in part to pesticide (imidacloprid) sensitivity. [28] Ground-based bees such as squash bees and the eastern bumblebee are better suited to handle the larger pollen particles that pumpkins create, [29] [30] but today most commercial plantings are pollinated by hives of honeybees, which also allows the production and sale of honey that the bees produce from the pumpkin pollen. One hive per acre (4,000 m2 per hive, or 5 hives per 2 hectares) is recommended by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. If there are inadequate bees for pollination, gardeners often have to hand pollinate. Inadequately pollinated pumpkins usually start growing but abort before full development.

Nutrition

Pumpkin, raw
Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
Energy 109 kJ (26 kcal)
6.5 g
Sugars 2.76 g
Dietary fiber 0.5 g
Fat
0.1 g
1 g
Vitamins Quantity%DV
Vitamin A equiv.
53%
426 μg
29%
3100 μg
1500 μg
Thiamine (B1)
4%
0.05 mg
Riboflavin (B2)
9%
0.11 mg
Niacin (B3)
4%
0.6 mg
Pantothenic acid (B5)
6%
0.298 mg
Vitamin B6
5%
0.061 mg
Folate (B9)
4%
16 μg
Vitamin C
11%
9 mg
Vitamin E
3%
0.44 mg
Vitamin K
1%
1.1 μg
Minerals Quantity%DV
Calcium
2%
21 mg
Iron
6%
0.8 mg
Magnesium
3%
12 mg
Manganese
6%
0.125 mg
Phosphorus
6%
44 mg
Potassium
7%
340 mg
Sodium
0%
1 mg
Zinc
3%
0.32 mg
Other constituentsQuantity
Water91.6 g

Percentages are roughly approximated using US recommendations for adults.

In a 100-gram amount, raw pumpkin provides 110 kilojoules (26 kilocalories) of food energy and is an excellent source (20% or more the Daily Value, DV) of provitamin A beta-carotene and vitamin A (53% DV) (table). Vitamin C is present in moderate content (11% DV), but no other nutrients are in significant amounts (less than 10% DV, table). Pumpkin is 92% water, 6.5% carbohydrate, 0.1% fat and 1% protein (table).

Uses

Cooking

Pumpkin pie is a popular way of preparing pumpkin. Pumpkin-Pie-Whole-Slice.jpg
Pumpkin pie is a popular way of preparing pumpkin.

Pumpkins are very versatile in their uses for cooking. Most parts of the pumpkin are edible, including the fleshy shell, the seeds, the leaves, and even the flowers. In the United States and Canada, pumpkin is a popular Halloween and Thanksgiving staple. [31] Pumpkin purée is sometimes prepared and frozen for later use. [32]

Roasted pumpkin Roasted pumkin.jpg
Roasted pumpkin

When ripe, the pumpkin can be boiled, steamed, or roasted. In its native North America, pumpkins are a very important, traditional part of the autumn harvest, eaten mashed [33] and making its way into soups and purées. Often, it is made into pumpkin pie, various kinds of which are a traditional staple of the Canadian and American Thanksgiving holidays. In Canada, Mexico, the United States, Europe and China, the seeds are often roasted and eaten as a snack.

Pumpkins that are still small and green may be eaten in the same way as summer squash or zucchini. In the Middle East, pumpkin is used for sweet dishes; a well-known sweet delicacy is called halawa yaqtin. In the Indian subcontinent, pumpkin is cooked with butter, sugar, and spices in a dish called kadu ka halwa. Pumpkin is used to make sambar in Udupi cuisine. In Guangxi province, China, the leaves of the pumpkin plant are consumed as a cooked vegetable or in soups. In Australia and New Zealand, pumpkin is often roasted in conjunction with other vegetables. In Japan, small pumpkins are served in savory dishes, including tempura. In Myanmar, pumpkins are used in both cooking and desserts (candied). The seeds are a popular sunflower seed substitute. In Thailand, small pumpkins are steamed with custard inside and served as a dessert. In Vietnam, pumpkins are commonly cooked in soups with pork or shrimp. In Italy, it can be used with cheeses as a savory stuffing for ravioli. Also, pumpkin can be used to flavor both alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages.

In the southwestern United States and Mexico, pumpkin and squash flowers are a popular and widely available food item. They may be used to garnish dishes, and they may be dredged in a batter then fried in oil. Pumpkin leaves are a popular vegetable in the Western and central regions of Kenya; they are called seveve, and are an ingredient of mukimo , [34] respectively, whereas the pumpkin itself is usually boiled or steamed. The seeds are popular with children who roast them on a pan before eating them. Pumpkin leaves are also eaten in Zambia, where they are called chibwabwa and are boiled and cooked with groundnut paste as a side dish. [35]

Leaves

Pumpkin leaf kimchi Pumpkin leaf kimchi.jpg
Pumpkin leaf kimchi

Pumpkin leaves, usually of C. moschata varieties, are eaten as a vegetable in Korean cuisine.

In various parts of India and Madheshis prepare saag and kachri/pakoda of the leaves and flowers.

Seeds

Salted pumpkin seeds Salted pumpkin seeds.jpg
Salted pumpkin seeds

Pumpkin seeds, also known as pepitas, are edible and nutrient-rich. They are about 1.5 cm (0.5 in) long, flat, asymmetrically oval, light green in color and usually covered by a white husk, although some pumpkin varieties produce seeds without them. Pumpkin seeds are a popular snack that can be found hulled or semi-hulled at most grocery stores. Per ounce serving, pumpkin seeds are a good source of protein, magnesium, copper and zinc. [36]

Pumpkin Seeds (matured) Pumpkin Seeds (matured).jpg
Pumpkin Seeds (matured)

Pumpkin seed oil

Pumpkin seed oil, a thick oil pressed from roasted pumpkin seeds, appears red or green in color depending on the oil layer thickness, container properties and hue shift of the observer's vision. [37] [38] When used for cooking or as a salad dressing, pumpkin seed oil is generally mixed with other oils because of its robust flavor. [39] Pumpkin seed oil contains fatty acids, such as oleic acid and alpha-linolenic acid. [40]

Other uses

Canned pumpkin is often recommended by veterinarians as a dietary supplement for dogs and cats that are experiencing certain digestive ailments such as constipation, diarrhea, or hairballs. The high fiber content aids proper digestion. [41]

Raw pumpkin can be fed to poultry, as a supplement to regular feed, during the winter to help maintain egg production, which usually drops off during the cold months. [42]

Pumpkins have been used as folk medicine by Native Americans to treat intestinal worms and urinary ailments, and this Native American remedy was adopted by American doctors in the early nineteenth century as an anthelmintic for the expulsion of worms. [43] [ qualify evidence ] In Germany and southeastern Europe, seeds of C. pepo were also used as folk remedies to treat irritable bladder and benign prostatic hyperplasia. [44] [45] [ qualify evidence ] In China, C. moschata seeds were also used in traditional Chinese medicine for the treatment of the parasitic disease schistosomiasis [46] and for the expulsion of tape worms. [47] [ qualify evidence ] Chinese studies have found that a combination of pumpkin seed and areca nut extracts was effective in the expulsion of Taenia spp. tapeworms in over 89% of cases. [48] [49] [50]

Culture

Halloween

A pumpkin carved into a jack-o'-lantern for Halloween Pumpkin2007.jpg
A pumpkin carved into a jack-o'-lantern for Halloween

Pumpkins are commonly carved into decorative lanterns called jack-o'-lanterns for the Halloween season. Traditionally Britain and Ireland would carve lanterns from vegetables, particularly the turnip, mangelwurzel, or swede, [51] they continue to be popular choices today as carved lanterns in Scotland and Northern Ireland, although the British purchased a million pumpkins for Halloween in 2004. [52]

The practice of carving pumpkins for Halloween originated from an Irish myth about a man named "Stingy Jack". [17] The turnip has traditionally been used in Ireland and Scotland at Halloween, [53] but immigrants to North America used the native pumpkin, which are both readily available and much larger – making them easier to carve than turnips. [53] Not until 1837, does jack-o'-lantern appear as a term for a carved vegetable lantern, [54] and the carved pumpkin lantern association with Halloween is recorded in 1866. [55]

In the United States, the carved pumpkin was first associated with the harvest season in general, long before it became an emblem of Halloween. [56] In 1900, an article on Thanksgiving entertaining recommended a lit jack-o'-lantern as part of the festivities that encourage kids and families to join together to make their own jack-o'-lanterns. [56]

Association of pumpkins with harvest time and pumpkin pie at Canadian and American Thanksgiving reinforce its iconic role. Starbucks turned this association into marketing with its pumpkin spice latte, introduced in 2003. [57] This has led to a notable trend in pumpkin and spice flavored food products in North America. [58] This is despite the fact that North Americans rarely buy whole pumpkins to eat other than when carving jack-o'-lanterns. Illinois farmer Sarah Frey is called "the Pumpkin Queen of America" and sells around five million pumpkins annually, predominantly for use as lanterns. [59] [60]

Chunking

Pumpkin chunking 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 chunkers breed and grow special varieties of pumpkin under specialized conditions to improve the pumpkin's chances of surviving a throw.

Pumpkin festivals and competitions

Growers of giant pumpkins often compete to see whose pumpkins are the most massive. Festivals are often dedicated to the pumpkin and these competitions.

The record for the world's heaviest pumpkin, 1,190.5 kg (2,624.6 lb), was established in Belgium in 2016. [16]

In the United States, the town of Half Moon Bay, California, holds an annual Art and Pumpkin Festival, including the World Champion Pumpkin Weigh-Off. [61]

Folklore and fiction

There is a connection in folklore and popular culture between pumpkins and the supernatural, such as:

See also

Related Research Articles

<i>Cucurbita</i> A genus of herbaceous vines in the gourd family, Cucurbitaceae

Cucurbita is a genus of herbaceous vines in the gourd family, Cucurbitaceae native to the Andes and Mesoamerica. Five species are grown worldwide for their edible fruit, variously known as squash, pumpkin, or gourd, depending on species, variety, and local parlance, and for their seeds. Other kinds of gourd, also called bottle-gourds, are native to Africa and belong to the genus Lagenaria, which is in the same family and subfamily as Cucurbita, but in a different tribe. These other gourds are used as utensils or vessels, and their young fruits are eaten much like those of Cucurbita species.

Spaghetti squash

Spaghetti squash or vegetable spaghetti is a group of cultivars of Cucurbita pepo subsp. pepo. They are available in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colours, including ivory, yellow and orange, with orange having the highest amount of carotene. Its center contains many large seeds. When raw, the flesh is solid and similar to other raw squash. When cooked, the meat of the fruit falls away from the flesh in ribbons or strands that look like, and can be used as an alternative to, spaghetti.

<i>Cucurbita pepo</i> Cultvated plant that yields varieties of squash and pumpkin

Cucurbita pepo is a cultivated plant of the genus Cucurbita. It yields varieties of winter squash and pumpkin, but the most widespread varieties belong to the subspecies Cucurbita pepo subsp. pepo, called summer squash.

Zucchini Edible summer squash, typically green in color

The zucchini, courgette or baby marrow is a summer squash, a herbaceous vine whose fruit are harvested when their immature seeds and epicarp (rind) are still soft and edible. It is closely related, but not identical, to the marrow; its fruit may be called marrow when mature.

Calabaza Type of squash

Calabaza is the generic name in the Spanish language for any type of pumpkin. Within an English-language context it specifically refers to what is known as West Indian pumpkin or also calabassa, a winter squash typically grown in the West Indies, tropical America, and the Philippines. Calabaza is the common name for Cucurbita moschata in Cuba, Florida, Puerto Rico, and the Philippines. C. moschata is also known as auyama in the Dominican Republic; ayote in Central America; zapallo in South America; and "pumpkin", "squash", or "calabash" in English-speaking islands.

Pumpkin seed

A pumpkin seed, also known in North America as a pepita, is the edible seed of a pumpkin or certain other cultivars of squash. The seeds are typically flat and asymmetrically oval, have a white outer husk, and are light green in color after the husk is removed. Some cultivars are huskless, and are grown only for their edible seed. The seeds are nutrient- and calorie-rich, with especially high content of fat, protein, dietary fiber, and numerous micronutrients. Pumpkin seed can refer either to the hulled kernel or unhulled whole seed, and most commonly refers to the roasted end product used as a snack.

<i>Cucurbita ficifolia</i> Species of plant

Cucurbita ficifolia is a species of squash, grown for its edible seeds, fruit, and greens. It has many common names in English such as the fig-leaf gourd, Malabar gourd, black seed squash and cidra. Although it is closely related to other squashes in its genus, such as the pumpkin, it shows considerable biochemical difference from them and does not hybridize readily with them.

Butternut squash Cucurbita moschata; type of winter squash

Butternut squash, known in Australia and New Zealand as butternut pumpkin or gramma, is a type of winter squash that grows on a vine. It has a sweet, nutty taste similar to that of a pumpkin. It has tan-yellow skin and orange fleshy pulp with a compartment of seeds in the blossom end. When ripe, it turns increasingly deep orange, and becomes sweeter and richer. It is a good source of fiber, vitamin C, magnesium, and potassium; and it is a source of vitamin A.

Eastern Agricultural Complex

The Eastern Agricultural Complex was one of about 10 independent centers of plant domestication in the pre-historic world. By about 1800 BCE the Native Americans of North America were cultivating several species of plants, thus transitioning from a hunter-gatherer economy to agriculture. After 200 BCE when maize from Mexico was introduced to the Eastern Woodlands, the Native Americans of the present-day United States and Canada slowly changed from growing local indigenous plants to a maize-based agricultural economy. The cultivation of local indigenous plants other than squash declined and was eventually abandoned. The formerly domesticated plants, except for squash, returned to their wild forms.

<i>Cucurbita moschata</i> Species of flowering plant

Cucurbita moschata is a species originating in either Central America or northern South America. It includes cultivars known as squash or pumpkin. C. moschata cultivars are generally more tolerant of hot, humid weather than cultivars of C. maxima or C. pepo. They also generally display a greater resistance to disease and insects, especially to the squash vine borer. Commercially made pumpkin pie mix is most often made from varieties of C. moschata. The ancestral species of the genus Cucurbita were present in the Americas before the arrival of humans. Evolutionarily speaking the genus is relatively recent in origin as no species within the genus is genetically isolated from all the other species. C. moschata acts as the genetic bridge within the genus and is closest to the genus' progenitor.

Squash bee Tribe of bees essential for cucurbit pollination

The name squash bee, also squash and gourd bee, is applied to two related genera of bees in the tribe Eucerini; Peponapis and Xenoglossa. Both genera are oligoleges on the plant genus Cucurbita and closely related plants, although they usually do not visit watermelon, cucumber, and melon plants. They are small genera, containing only 13 and 7 described species, respectively, and their combined range is nearly identical to the range of Cucurbita in the New World, from South America to North America. Their range has become somewhat expanded along with the movement of cucurbits into other areas.

Crookneck squash Cultivar of Cucurbita pepo

Crookneck squash, also known as yellow squash, is a cultivar of Cucurbita pepo, the species that also includes some pumpkins and most other summer squashes. The plants are bushy and do not spread like the plants of winter squash and pumpkin. Most often used as a summer squash, it is characterized by its yellow skin and sweet yellow flesh, as well as its distinctive curved stem-end or "crooked neck". It should not be confused with crookneck cultivars of Cucurbita moschata, such as the winter squash 'Golden Cushaw', or the vining summer squash 'Tromboncino'. Its name distinguishes it from another similar-looking variety of C. pepo, the straightneck squash, which is also usually yellow. There is one similar non-edible C. pepo variety: C. pepo var. ovifera.

Summer squash are squashes that are harvested when immature, while the rind is still tender and edible. Nearly all summer squashes are varieties of Cucurbita pepo, though not all Cucurbita pepo are considered summer squashes. Most summer squash have a bushy growth habit, unlike the rambling vines of many winter squashes. The name "summer squash" refers to the short storage life of these squashes, unlike that of winter squashes.

Delicata squash

Delicata squash is a variety of winter squash with cream-coloured cylindrical fruits striped in green or orange that are cooked. As its name suggests, it has characteristically a delicate rind. It is also known as peanut squash, Bohemian squash, or sweet potato squash. It is a cultivar of the species Cucurbita pepo, which also includes the summer squash varieties pattypan squash, zucchini, and yellow crookneck squash, as well as winter squash varieties including acorn squash, spaghetti squash, and most pumpkins used as Jack-o-lanterns.

Winter squash Squash harvested and eaten in mature stage; skin hardened into tough rind

Winter squash is an annual vegetable representing several squash species within the genus Cucurbita. It differs from summer squash in that it is harvested and eaten in the mature stage when the seeds within have matured fully and the skin has hardened into a tough rind. At this stage, most varieties of this vegetable can be stored for use during the winter. Winter squash is generally cooked before being eaten, and the skin or rind is not usually eaten as it is with summer squash.

<i>Cucurbita maxima</i> Species of squash

Cucurbita maxima, one of at least four species of cultivated squash, is one of the most diverse domesticated species. This species originated in South America from the wild Cucurbita andreana over 4000 years ago. The two species hybridize quite readily but have noticeably different calcium levels.

Pumpkin pie Dessert

Pumpkin pie is a dessert pie with a spiced, pumpkin-based custard filling. The pumpkin is a symbol of harvest time, and pumpkin pie is generally eaten during the fall and early winter. In the United States and Canada, it is usually prepared for Thanksgiving, and other occasions when pumpkin is in season.

<i>Cucurbita argyrosperma</i> Species of plant

Cucurbita argyrosperma, also the Japanese pie pumpkin or cushaw pumpkin, and silver-seed gourd, is a species of winter squash originally from the south of Mexico. This annual herbaceous plant is cultivated in the Americas for its nutritional value: its flowers, shoots, and fruits are all harvested, but it is cultivated most of all for its seeds, which are used for sauces. It was formerly known as Cucurbita mixta.

<i>Peponapis pruinosa</i> Species of bee

Peponapis pruinosa is a species of solitary bee in the tribe Eucerini, the long-horned bees. Its common name is eastern cucurbit bee. It may be called the squash bee, but this name can also apply to other species in its genus, as well as the other squash bee genus, Xenoglossa. This bee occurs in North America from the East Coast of the United States to the West Coast and into Mexico. It is an oligolege, specializing on a few host plants, the squashes and gourds of genus Cucurbita. Its range expanded as human agriculture spread throughout North America and squash plants became more abundant and widespread. It may also have spread naturally as the range of its favored wild host plant Cucurbita foetidissima expanded.

Connecticut field pumpkin

The Connecticut field pumpkin is a type of pumpkin. It is an heirloom variety, the "standard" and "classic" pumpkin, "one of the oldest pumpkins in existence". Widely used for autumn decorations, either whole or as jack-o'-lanterns, it is also suitable for culinary purposes, but not preferable. Said to differ little from winter squash grown by Native Americans in pre-Columbian times, the name "Connecticut field" references the area where the ancestral variety was found, as well as the traditional system of planting pumpkins in corn fields.

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Further reading