Cucurbita moschata is a species originating in either Central America or northern South America.[2] It includes cultivars known as squash or pumpkin. C. moschata cultivars are generally more tolerant of hot, humid weather than cultivars of C. maxima or C. pepo. They also generally display a greater resistance to disease and insects, especially to the squash vine borer. Commercially made pumpkin pie mix is most often made from varieties of C. moschata. The ancestral species of the genus Cucurbita were present in the Americas before the arrival of humans. No species within the genus is fully genetically isolated from all the other species. C. moschata can be hybridized with all other species. It has been suggested that this shows that the species of Cucurbita have diversified more recently than those of related genera such as Cucumis and Citrullus.[3]

Cucurbita moschata
Butternut squash, a variety of Cucurbita moschata
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Rosids
Order: Cucurbitales
Family: Cucurbitaceae
Genus: Cucurbita
C. moschata
Binomial name
Cucurbita moschata
  • Cucurbita colombiana (Zhit.) Bukasov
  • Cucurbita hippopera Ser.
  • Cucurbita macrocarpa Gasp.
  • Cucurbita meloniformis Carrière
  • Cucurbita pepo var. moschata Duchesne
  • Gymnopetalum calyculatum Miq.
  • Pepo moschata (Duchesne) Britton

All species of squashes and pumpkins are native to the Western Hemisphere.[4] C. moschata, represented by such varieties as Cushaw and Winter Crookneck Squashes, and Japanese Pie and Large Cheese Pumpkins, is a long-vining plant native to Mexico and Central America.[4] This species and C. pepo apparently originated in the same general area, Mexico and Central America.[4] Both are important food plants of the original people of the region, ranking next to maize and beans.[4] The flowers and the mature seeds, and the flesh of the fruit are eaten in some areas.[4]

Before the arrival of Europeans, C. moschata and C. pepo had been carried over all parts of North America where they could be grown.[4] Still, they had not been carried into South America as had beans, which originated in the same general region.[4] They were generally grown by indigenous people all over what is now the United States.[4] Many of these peoples, particularly in the west, still grow a diversity of hardy squashes and pumpkins not to be found in commercial markets.[4]



Cultivars include:

  • Al Hachi – a winter squash used in Kashmir, usually dried
  • Aehobak – a summer squash, also called Korean zucchini
  • Brazilian crook neck, Abóbora de pescoço or Abóbora seca – a large, curved-neck variety with deep orange flesh and dark green skin with light orange highlights found in Brazil.[5]
  • Butternut squash – a popular winter squash in much of North America
  • Calabaza – a commonly grown winter squash in the Caribbean, tropical America, and the Philippines
  • Dickinson pumpkin – Libby's uses a proprietary strain of Dickinson for its canned pumpkin[6][7]
  • Giromon – a large, green cultivar, grown primarily in the Caribbean. Haitians use it to make the traditional "soupe giromon".[8]
  • Golden Cushaw – Similar in shape but a different species than the common Cucurbita argyrosperma "cushaw" type.
  • Loche – a landrace of squashes from Peru.[9]
  • Liscia – grows early in the season, reaching maturation after 115 to 130 days[10]
  • Long Island cheese pumpkin – the exterior resembles a wheel of cheese in shape, color, and texture
  • Musquée de Provence, Moscata di Provenza or Fairytale pumpkin – a large hybrid from France with sweet, fragrant, deep-orange flesh often sold by the slice due to its size. [11]
  • Naples long squash or Courge pleine de Naples – a large, long squash with deep green skin and small bulb at the end. It is 10 to 25 kg on average and found in France and Italy[12]
  • São Paulo pumpkin or Abóbora paulista is a butternut-shaped variety with well-defined white and green stripes along its length
  • Seminole pumpkin – an heirloom variety originally cultivated by the Seminole people of what is now Florida[13]
  • Tromboncino – a summer squash, also known as "Zucchetta"[14]


  1. ^ The Plant List, Cucurbita moschata
  2. ^ Hui, Yiu H. (2006). "Pumpkins and Squashes". Handbook of Food Science, Technology, and Engineering. Vol. 1. Boca Raton, Florida: CRC Press. pp. 20–10. ISBN 9781420027518.
  3. ^ Whitaker, Thomas W.; Bemis, W. P. (1975). "Origin and Evolution of the Cultivated Cucurbita". Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club. 102 (6). New York: Torrey Botanical Society: 362–368. doi:10.2307/2484762. JSTOR 2484762.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i Victor E. Boswell and Else Bostelmann. "Our Vegetable Travelers." The National Geographic Magazine. 96.2: August 1949.
  5. ^ "Abóbora-de-Pescoço". Instituto Brasil a Gosto. 28 June 2019. Retrieved 2021-11-25.
  6. ^ "Pumpkins". Retrieved 2023-05-26.
  7. ^ Arumugam, Nadia. "Why You Want Canned Pumpkin For A Better Pie, Not Fresh". Forbes. Retrieved 2023-05-26.
  8. ^ West-Duran, Alan (2003). African Caribbeans: a reference guide. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press. p. 110. ISBN 0-313-31240-0.
  9. ^ Andres TC, R Ugás, F Bustamante. 2006. Loche: A unique pre-Columbian squash locally grown in North Coastal Peru. In: Proceedings of Cucurbitaceae 2006. G.J. Holmes (eds.) Universal Press, Raleigh, North Carolina, USA. pp. 333-340.
  10. ^ Maťová, Adriána; Hegedűsová, Alžbeta; Andrejiová, Alena; Hegedűs, Ondrej; Golian, Marcel; Šlosár, Miroslav; Lidiková, Judita; Lošák, Tomáš (11 May 2021). "Evaluation of Storage and Freezing, Baking, and Boiling Treatments on Total Carotenoids Content in the Fruits of Selected Cucurbita moschata Duch. Varieties" (PDF). Journal of Food Quality. 2021: 1–9. doi:10.1155/2021/5584652.
  11. ^ "Squash". What's Cooking America. 13 November 2015. Retrieved 2021-11-25.
  12. ^ Marie, Isa (14 September 2011). "La Courge Pleine de Naples". Grelinette et Cassolettes. Retrieved 25 November 2021.
  13. ^ Castetter, Edward F. (1930). "Species Crosses in the Genus Cucurbita" (PDF). American Journal of Botany. 17 (1): 41–57. doi:10.2307/2446379. ISSN 0002-9122. JSTOR 2446379.
  14. ^ "Zucchetta". Mount Vernon Northwestern Washington Research and Extension Center: Vegetable Research and Extension. Washington State University. Retrieved 10 May 2013.