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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.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on pumpkin, visit Britannica.com.