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.