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Any of various fruits of the genus Cucurbita in the gourd family, widely cultivated as vegetables and for livestock feed. The principal species are C. maxima and certain varieties of C. pepo. Summer squash is a quick-growing, small-fruited, nontrailing or bush type of C. pepo. Diverse in form, colour, and surface texture, the fruits do not store well and must be used soon after harvest (seezucchini). Winter varieties of squash, C. maxima, are long-vining, generally large-fruited, long-season types. Harvested fruits, in a wide range of sizes, shapes, and colours, can be stored many months if kept dry and well above freezing. The rinds are harder than those of summer squash and usually inedible. Examples include acorn squash and pumpkin. Native to the Americas, squash was widely cultivated by American Indians before Europeans arrived.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on squash, visit Britannica.com.