Something pumpkiny this way comes

Pumpkins (Photo by Nino Barbieri, Wikimedia Commons)

Pumpkins (Photo by Nino Barbieri, Wikimedia Commons)

October 12, 2015 | by Wendy Ho

It’s that time of year when we experience fall everywhere we go: brisk air, turned leaves, harvest displays, the donning of warmer apparel and more. This festive atmosphere becomes even more pronounced with the coming of Thanksgiving, and no celebration is complete without serving up at least one pumpkin dish!

As we gather for another year of thankfulness, here are the top 12 things you didn’t know about pumpkins but always wish you did:

Pumpkins are thought to have originated in Mesoamerica and first cultivated between 8,000-10,000 years ago. (Tweet this!)

The heaviest pumpkin grown by a human tops the scales at 1,056 kg and was produced in 2014! (Tweet this!)

DYK pumpkins belong to the genus Cucurbita and the family Cucurbitaceae, which includes gourds and cucumbers? (Tweet this!)

A vegetable or a fruit? A pumpkin, in botanical sense, is a fruit — share that at your next pumpkin-eating occasion! (Tweet this!)

DYK there are hundreds of different varieties of pumpkins and squash? Many of them are heirloom varieties and look quite quaint! (Tweet this!)

Cinderella pumpkins — they’re a thing! In fact, this variety is named after the fairytale carriage’s shape. (Tweet this!)

Linus once said: There are three things I have learned never to discuss with people: religion, politics, and the Great Pumpkin. (Tweet this!)

The squash bee only forages for pollen on Curcubita crops: pumpkins, squashes and gourds. (Tweet this!)

Hungry for a snack? The average-sized pumpkin contains about one cup of seeds. (Tweet this!)

These are gourds gone global! Pumpkins are grown on every continent except for Antarctica. (Tweet this!)

It takes a squash bee about five hours to collect enough pumpkin pollen to raise one larva. (Tweet this!)

A pumpkin for a bed? Male squash bees sleep in pumpkin flowers when they close. (Tweet this!)

Good gourd, what do you do with all these facts? Why, share them while everyone is talking about pumpkins of course! If you'd like to spice things up with a dash of humour, try this:

What do you get when you divide the circumference of a pumpkin by its diameter? (Answer: Pumpkin pi)

Do you know any neat pumpkin facts? Share them with us in the comment box below!


Encyclopedia of Life: Gourds and squash varieties

University of Illinois Extension: Pumpkins and more

Wendy Ho (Photo by NCC)

About the Author

Wendy Ho is Nature Conservancy of Canada's digital content manager.

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