Pumpkin

PumpkinPumpkin — Pumpkin is a gourd-like squash of the genus Cucurbita and the family Cucurbitaceae (which also includes gourds). It can refer to either species Cucurbita pepo or Cucurbita mixta, and sometimes to a specific variety of either the species Cucurbita maxima or Cucurbita moschata.

Since some squash share the same botanical classifications as pumpkins, the names are frequently used interchangeably. In general, pumpkins have stems which are firmer, more rigid, pricklier, have +/- a 5 degree angle, and are squarer in shape than squash stems which are generally softer, more rounded, and more flared where joined to the fruit.

Pumpkins generally weigh 9–18 lbs (4–8 kg) with the largest (of the species C. maxima) capable of reaching a weight of over 75 lbs (34 kg). The pumpkin varies greatly in shape, ranging from oblate through oblong. The rind is smooth and usually lightly ribbed. Although pumpkins are usually orange or yellow, some fruits are dark green, pale green, orange-yellow, white, red and gray.

Pumpkins are angiosperms, having both male and female flowers, the latter distinguished by the small ovary at the base of the petals. These bright and colorful flowers have extremely short life spans, and may only open for as short a time as one day. The color of pumpkins is derived from the orange pigments abundant in them. The main nutrients are lutein, and both alpha- and beta- carotene. Their purpose is to generate vitamin A in the body.

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