Pumpkin Facts

Pumpkin Facts
Pumpkin is herbaceous plant that belongs to the family Cucurbitaceae. This plant originates from Central America. Cultivation of pumpkin started 7000 to 5500 years BC in Mexico. Today, pumpkin is cultivated on every continent except on the Antarctica. Pumpkin has high nutritional value and it represents important part of human diet. It is also used as food for animals. Pumpkins are sometimes cultivated in decorative purposes. Size, shape and color of the pumpkin depend on the variety. Name “pumpkin” originates from the Greek word “pepon”, which means “large melon”. Pumpkins can be seen in numerous cartoons, movies (such as Harry Potter) and fairytales (such as Cinderella) because of their unusual morphology.
Interesting Pumpkin Facts:
Pumpkin grows in the form of vine. It produces numerous branches and can reach up to 30 feet in length.
Leaves are large and dark green in color. They are divided in five lobes and have serrated edges. Leaves have prominent veins and they are covered with fine hairs.
Pumpkin develops male and female flowers on the same plant (monoecious plant). They are yellowish-orange in color and shaped like trumpet.
Flowers are pollinated by various insects, usually by honeybees.
Pumpkin is a fruit. It produces fruit of oval or spherical shape that is usually orange in color. Certain types of pumpkin develop green, yellow, white or red fruit. On average, fruit weighs 6 to 18 pounds. Largest ever recorded pumpkin had 1340 pounds of weight.
All parts of pumpkin (root, stem, leaves, fruit and seed) are edible.
Pumpkin is rich source of vitamins A, C and vitamins of the B group. It also contains numerous valuable minerals such as potassium, magnesium and manganese.
Pumpkin can be consumed in the form of various sweet and salty dishes. Pumpkin pie is traditionally consumed for Thanksgiving Day. Biggest ever recorded pumpkin pie had 5 feet in diameter and 350 pounds of weight.
Roasted seeds are often consumed as healthy snack.
Oil extracted from the seed is mainly used as dressing for salads and as an ingredient of soups and certain types of ice-creams.
Pumpkins were used in the past for the removal of freckles and as a first aid for snake bites. Pumpkin can improve function of immune and digestive system and alleviate rheumatic disorders. It is often used in a treatment of benign prostate hyperplasia.
Pumpkin can be used as “medicine” for animals. Since this plant facilitates digestion, it can be used for treatment of constipation, diarrhea and hairballs in cats.
Over 1 billion tons of pumpkins are produced each year in the USA.
Carved pumpkins illuminated with candles (known as Jack-o-lantern) are used as inevitable detail of Halloween night in the USA.
Pumpkins are annual plants which mean that they complete their life cycle in one year.

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