From The Plant Encyclopedia
|Pumpkin botanical illustration|
|Category||Vine, Annual, Groundcover, Vegetable|
|Varieties in this species|
|Add a variety||
|Please enter the plant name in this format: 'Latin name - Common Name'|
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- Cultivation: For-Gardeners
- Light: Sun
- Soil: Rich
- pH: 8
- Moisture: Medium
- Form: Vine, Herbaceous
- Habit: Annual
- Flower: Large, Yellow, Orange
- Fruit/Seed: Large, Green, Yellow, Orange, White
- Foliage: Leaves, Green
- Uses: Edible
Cucurbita maxima is one of the most diverse domesticated Species, with thousands of Varieties; perhaps with more cultivated forms than any other crop. The most commonly known varieties are known as the Pumpkins for example Curcurbita mazima, Atlantic Giant - Atlantic Giant Pumpkin
<ref>Esquinas-Alcazar, J.T. and P.J. Gulick. 1983. Genetic resources of Cucurbitaceae: A global report. 1st ed. Intl. Board Plant Genet. Resour., IBPGR. Rome, Italy.</ref> This species originated in South America from the wild C. maxima ssp. andreana over 4000 years ago <ref>Sanjur, O.I., D.R. Piperno, T.C. Andres, and L. Wessel- Beaver. 2002. Phylogenetic relationships among domesticated and wild species of Cucurbita (Cucurbitaceae) inferred from a mitochondrial gene: Implications for crop plant evolution and areas of origin. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 99:535-540.</ref> Different squash types of this species were introduced into North America as early as the 16th century. By the American Revolution, the species was in cultivation by Native American tribes throughout the present-day United States. By the early 19th century, at least three varieties are known to have been commercially introduced in North America from seeds obtained from Native Americans. Secondary centers of diversity include India, Bangladesh, Burma, and possibly the southern Appalachians.
Buttercup squash is one of the most common varieties of this winter squash with a turban-shape (a flattish top and dark green skin), weighing 3-5 pounds, and normally heavy with dense yellow-orange flesh.
Jarrahdale pumpkin is a pumpkin with gray skin. It is nearly identical to 'Queensland Blue' and 'Sweet Meat' varieties.
Kabocha is a Japanese variety.Lakota squash is an American variety.
The Candy Roaster landrace was originally developed by the Cherokee people in the southern Appalachians. Another heirloom variety, it is quite variable in size (10-250+ lbs), shape (round, cylindrical, teardrop, blocky, etc.), and color (pink, tan, green, blue, gray, or orange), yet most have fine-textured orange flesh. This variety enjoys continued popularity, particularly in the southern Appalachians.
Buttercup squash can be roasted, baked, and mashed into soups, among a variety of filler uses, much like pumpkin. It is extremely popular, especially as a soup, in Brazil and Africa.
All giant pumpkins (100+ lbs) are of this species, including the largest pumpkins ever documented, which have attained sizes of at least 2000 lbs.
The Tamils call it as parangkikkaay and use to prepare tasteful dishes. The parangkikkaay koottu is a very sweet and nice dish. But in Siddha Medicine it also used as a medicine. For example, fry about 10 grams of the seeds of Curcurbita maxima and grind them to powder form. To this add equal amount of sugar and eat at night before bed time. In the morning drink a table spoon of castor oil with hot water. This will expel all tape-worms from the intestine and the stomach will be cleaned. Similarly, take about 25 grams of the seeds of Curcurbita maxima and make decoction. Dinking the decoction will be good for leucorrhoea ("veLLai" in Tamil)