Squashes generally refer to four species of the genus
Cucurbita native to Mexico and Central America, also called
marrows depending on variety or the nationality of the
speaker. These species include C. maxima (hubbard squash,
buttercup squash, some varieties of prize pumpkins, such as
Big Max), C. mixta (cushaw squash), C. moschata (butternut
squash), and C. pepo (most pumpkins, acorn squash, summer
In North America, squash is loosely grouped into summer
squash or winter squash, depending on whether they are
harvested as immature fruit (summer squash) or mature fruit
(autumn squash or winter squash). Gourds are from the same
family as squashes. Well known types of squash include the
pumpkin and zucchini. Giant squash are derived from
Cucurbita maxima and are routinely grown to weights nearing
those of giant pumpkins.
The English word "squash"
derives from askutasquash (a green thing eaten raw), a word
from the Narragansett language, which was documented by
Roger Williams, the founder of Rhode Island, in his 1643
publication A Key Into the Language of America. Similar
words for squash exist in related languages of the
Algonquian family such as Massachusett.
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