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Historical Records, Origins, and Development of the Edible Cultivar Groups of Cucurbita pepo (Cucurbitaceae)

Harry S. Paris
Economic Botany
Vol. 43, No. 4 (Oct. - Dec., 1989), pp. 423-443
Published by: Springer on behalf of New York Botanical Garden Press
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4255187
Page Count: 21
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Historical Records, Origins, and Development of the Edible Cultivar Groups of Cucurbita pepo (Cucurbitaceae)
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Abstract

Cucurbita pepo includes eight groups of edible cultivars-pumpkins, scallops, acorns, crooknecks, straightnecks, vegetable marrows, cocozelles, and zucchinis. The pumpkins, scallops, and possibly the crooknecks are ancient groups that developed along separate lines of domestication in North America. Incipient forms of all the other five groups appeared in botanical herbals of Europe by 1700. Modern forms of the vegetable marrows, cocozelles, zucchinis, and acorns appeared in Europe prior to 1860, and the modern straightnecks appeared in North America by 1896. Divergence among the various groups appears to be increasing under continuing domestication due to the different demands made on cultivars grown for their immature fruits as opposed to cultivars grown for their mature fruits. An association exists between length to width ratio and stage of culinary use of the fruits in Cucurbita pepo.

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