Field of Science

When is a pumpkin not a pumpkin?

TPP knows where the pumpkin capital of the USA is located.  Morton, a little town right here in Lincolnland. And very few pumpkins are grown there. The reason for this is that the jack-o-lantern pumpkin is not the pumpkin of pies, and it never has been. Usually the news media get this wrong, so what a surprise to read a correct and well-informed article about pumpkins, in the HuffPo!  Jack-o-lantern pumpkins are a very watery fruit, not as watery as a tomato, but watery none the less. The pumpkin of pies are from a different species of Cucurbita, basically big orange squashes. There is a variety of pumpkin/squash called a "sugar pumpkin" that are smaller, denser fruits, sometimes called "baking pumpkins", but TPP is not even certain if this is a C. pepo or one of the other species. In addition to jack-o-lantern pumpkins, this species includes all ornamental gourds, summer squashes, acorn, delicata, and spaghetti squashes. C. moschata includes the butternut and similar orange winter
squashes, but not all. The large Hubbard squashes, all the "giant pumpkins in the news", turban squashes, banana squashes, and a number of other varieties are C. maxima. So Cucurbitas can be pretty confusing.
Here's a cleverly carved "pumpkin". Do you know what this pumpkin is going to say? If not, then you don't know jack(o-lantern) about Who. 

1 comment:

Eric said...

Exterminate! Exterminate! Exterminate! (Now where did I leave that bathroom plunger?)