Botanist's Lens: Pumpkin Overload Yet?

How about little more of Pumpkin, but just as food for thought: 'Pepon', 'Pompon', 'Pumpion' and then finally how did it get to 'Pumpkin'?


"References to pumpkins date back many centuries. The name pumpkin originated from the Greek word for "large melon" which is "pepon." "Pepon" was nasalized by the French into "pompon." The English changed "pompon" to "Pumpion." Shakespeare referred to the "pumpion" in his Merry Wives of Windsor. American colonists changed "pumpion" into "pumpkin." (https://web.extension.illinois.edu/pumpkins/history.cfm)


Cucurbitaceae family is the gourd family which has the Cucurbit genus with common vegetables such as the squash, pumpkin, zucchini and gourds. Other two genus in this family that have common vegetables are: Cucumis sps. (cucumber) and Momordica (bitter melon).

 

 


This year in the demonstration gardens at London Town, we grew quite a few members of the Cucubitaceae family including: Bitter melon, cucumber, squash and zucchini. These plantings were correlated to the theme for the demonstration gardens for 2019 which is The Global Garden, which represents the beautiful Still life Art Paintings by James and Raphaelle Peale.


Most common species of Pumpkin, the Curcurbita genus that are sold for decorations is C. maxima and the genus sold for edible use is C. moscahata. "Archeological evidence suggests that pumpkins and winter squash are native to the Americas. Native Americans are said to have roasted long strips of pumpkin on an open fire and then consumed them. They also dried pumpkin strips and wove them into mats". (https://ipm.missouri.edu/meg/2013/…/Pumpkin-A-Brief-History/)


Phytochemicals and Pumpkins: many pumpkins are regarded as an excellent source of provitamin A carotenoids (eg., beta-carotenoid) because they can provide more than 100% of the recommended daily intake. (Source: Bioactives in fruits, Wiley Blackwell).

 

"Pumpkin seeds, generally considered agro-industrial waste, are an extraordinarily rich source of bioactive compounds with interesting nutraceutical properties. In recent years, several studies have highlighted the health properties of pumpkin seed oil against many diseases, including hypertension, diabetes, and cancer. It also shows antibacterial, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties". (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5867545/)


Check out the following link from the Univeristy of Georgia Extension which has images of the gigantic "Orange Bulldog" which can certainly visually wrap up pumpkin overload for anyone: https://extension.uga.edu/story.html?storyid=8159


Enjoy the Cucurbits and the season!
 

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