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Varieties of Pumpkins- Lots and lots of 'em!

Here are the basic types of Pumpkin:

Pumpkins belong to the "Cucurbita" is the plant family. This species also includes squash, watermelon, and cucumbers.

Thanks to easy cross-breeding, there are hundreds of varieties of pumpkins. Focusing specifically on the pumpkin varieties, there are a number of species(sub-groups):

Cucurbita Moschata-- This group includes the pumpkins frequently used for commercially canned pumpkin. They tend to be oblong pumpkins and have tan skin.

Other members include:

  • Winter Crookneck Squash
  • Butternut Squash
  • Cushaw Squash

Cucurbita Pepo- - These are the Jack-o-Lantern varieties you most commonly see, and the cute little pumpkins that fit in the palm of your hand.

Common pumpkin varieties include: Connecticut field pumpkins, Howden pumpkins, and Howden Biggie pumpkins.

Other members include:

  • Most summer squashes
  • Gourds
  • Pattypan Summer squash
  • Crookneck squash
  • Scallop Summer Squash
  • Zucchini

Cucurbita Maxima- - Whether you consider these to be squash, pumpkins, pumpkin squash or any other name, these are the beasts of the pumpkin patch.

Some of the most popular members of this group include: PrizeWinner Hybrid, Big Max, and of course, the infamous Atlantic Giant.

Other members include:

  • Hubbard squash
  • Boston squash
  • Most Winter squashes
  • Turban squash
  • Banana squash
  • Buttercup squash
  • Lumina

Cucurbita Mixta

Interesting Varieties:

Miniature Pumpkins - Often called Jack B. Little Pumpkins (a specific variety). They are also abbreviated as "JBL". Miniature pumpkins are fun to grow and decorate with.

White Pumpkins are relatively new on the scene.

Blue or blue-green pumpkins- Often called Australian Blue or Jaradale pumpkins.

Hull-less seedless pumpkins are also a relatively new variety.

Pumpkin on a Stick(or Pumpkin Tree) - Is it really a pumpkin? Find out......

Others: Pumpkins come in just about any color.A blue variety can be found in eastern Europe and a red variety, called "Rouge D'Etant.


Genetics significantly affects the outcome of your plant. Just as with any other animal or plant species, the child takes on the characteristics of the parents. Yes, the environment plays a role in the final outcome and very much so in the plant world. But, if the seed does not have the genetic capability to grow to enormous size, it can not do so even in a perfect nurturing environment. Keep in mind that size is not always the only thing. If you are growing your pumpkin for display, roundness and color are important.

All the growers I have talked with, confirm that if you want a big pumpkin, get seed with proven genetics for big pumpkins. The largest in the world are all Atlantic Giants. If you are growing for competition, you need one from a parent in the 1,000-1,500 pound+ range, preferably one that has already proven to produce big offspring.

More on pumpkin genetics

Seed Sources:

Pumpkin Nook carries a huge selection of seed for your pumpkin patch. Of particular note is the giant pumpkin seed, which comes from an exceptional strain of beautiful pumpkins. And we all know, a giant pumpkin is often something less than beautiful!


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