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Pumpkin Varieties

This guide is a work in progress. The purpose of it is to help you identify some of the many wonderful varieties of pumpkins available and find which one is best suited to your needs. The pumpkins are organized by color and size. You can either scroll through the list or use these quick jump links. If the fruit has alternate common names they are in parenthesis below the most common name. Following the description is the scientific name and the average days to maturity which can be used as a guide to help you determine when to plant if you want to grow this variety at home.

Giant

Atlantic Giant

Smaller 200 lb. Atlantic Giants
Atlantic Giant
Currently Atlantic Giants are the largest of the giant pumpkins. With proper care they can grow to over half a ton in weight. The photo at top left shows the winner of the 2003 Half Moon Bay Great Pumpkin Weigh-Off with a 1,180 lb. Atlantic Giant. While they have the potential to grow to truly monstrous proportions more commonly they weigh in at several hundred pounds. Coloration for the largest pumpkins is usually cream to light orange but some growers have managed to coax a good orange color from them. The amount of sunlight seems to be the key.
Growing Infomation
Cucurbita maxima, 130 days to maturity
Prizewinner
One of the most attractive of the giant pumpkins, Prizewinner commonly grows up to 200 lbs. It is well rounded, light orange/yellow, and smooth with light ribbing.

Orange - Large and Medium

Connecticut Field
(Big Tom)
Prior to Howden, Connecticut Field was the standard Halloween pumpkin. It's a full sized pumpkin averaging 20-25 lbs. with slight ribbing and a solid orange color. Durable flesh is good for canning.
Growing Infomation
Cucurbita moschata, 120 days to maturity
Howden
Howden
(Howden, Howden Field, Howden Biggie, etc)
Howdens come in several closely related varieties and are, as a group, the commercial leader for jack-o-lanterns. They tend to be fairly large weighing greater than 20 lbs. and often up to 60. They often produce pumpkins that are more elongated than round, only lightly ribbed, and with a deep orange skin. Excellent choice for carving, sturdy stems.
Growing Infomation
Cucurbita pepo, 115 days to maturity

Orange - Small and Miniature

Baby Bear
Baby Bear
Small, ~5" in diameter, slightly oblate, smooth with slight ribbing. Good for cooking and decoration but not for carving.
Growing Infomation
Cucurbita pepo, 105 days to maturity
Jack Be Little
2-3" diameter miniature pumpkins. Only passably edible but great for decoration, painting, crafts. Shallower ribs than the Munchkin variety. Like most miniature varieties these keep extremely well.
Growing Infomation
Cucurbita pepo, 105 days to maturity
Lil' Goblin
Small (~4" diameter, 1 lb.), well rounded, very slight ribbing. Deep orange color. Good for painting and decor. Carving is possible.
Growing Infomation
Cucurbita pepo
Munchkin
Munchkin
Miniature pumpkin (~3" diameter, ~2" high, 1/4 lb.), flattened with deep ribs and sturdy stem. Not for cooking but excellent for decorating and other craft projects. Keeps extremely well.
Growing Infomation
Cucurbita pepo, 95 days to maturity
Sugar Pie
Sugar Pie
Suitable for all uses, carving, painting, cooking, sweet flesh. 7"- 8" diameter, 6 - 7 lbs.
Growing Infomation
Cucurbita pepo, 100 days to maturity
Sugar Pumpkin
(New England Pie)
Suitable for all uses, carving, painting, cooking it is best known as the King of pumpkins for pies with its dark, sweet flesh. ~6"- 8" diameter, 5 - 8 lbs. Great seeds for roasting.
Growing Infomation
100-110 days to maturity
We Be Little
We Be Little
(Wee-Be-Little)
Extra small, well rounded pumpkin variety with smooth skin and no ribbing. Used for decoration it ranges between 2" - 5" in diameter. Unlike smaller more decorative varieties these pumpkins are edible.

Whites

Baby Boo
Baby Boo
Bright white miniature, ~3" pumpkin with deep ribs. Has a tendency to turn yellow in bright sunlight. Like many of the miniature varieties it keeps extremely well. Not edible but very attractive for decoration.
Growing Infomation
Cucurbita pepo, 95 days to maturity
Casper
Casper
Brilliant white skin. More round than squat and with only slight ribbing. Sweet flesh is excellent for pies and baking. More suited to painting than carving.
Growing Infomation
Cucurbita pepo, 115 days to maturity
Lumina
Brilliant white and normally smoothed skin. Bright yellow flesh. Highly valued for its flavor it is especially good for cooking. Can be carved or painted but does not keep well.
Growing Infomation
Cucurbita maxima, 90 days to maturity
White Ghost
White Ghost
(Valencia)
Pure white outside with a bright yellow flesh inside White Ghost pumpkins are good for painting, cooking, or general fall decorating. Their thick flesh and squat shape make them challenging to carve.
Growing Infomation

Reds

Cinderella
Cinderella
(Rouge, Rouge Vif d'Estampes)
In recent years the Cinderella variety of pumpkins has become quite popular here in the Bay Area although it was introduced to the US in 1883. It is rumored to have been the prototype for pumpkin carriage in the Cinderella folktale. Cinderella pumpkins are deep red to orange, flattened, and deeply ribbed. Excellent for decor they are difficult to carve. Good for stacking. Semi-sweet flesh is good for pies. Keeps very well.
Growing Infomation
Cucurbita maxima, 100 days to maturity
Lakota
Lakota
Lakota is an heirloom variety from the American Midwest. Red with green/black markings following margins up from the base. Mostly pear shaped. Ranges from 5-7 lbs. Butternut-like flavor.
Growing Infomation
85-100 days to maturity
Red Warty
Red Warty
(Red Warty Thing)
A Cross between an unknown pumpkin and a Red Hubbard this pumpkin is perhaps more squash-like than pumpkin-like. Richly warted red skin, sweet string-less flesh, perhaps better for eating than for carving. Very decorative. Grows up to 20 lbs.
Growing Infomation
110 days to maturity

Blues/Greens

Blue Max
Blue Max
Similar to the Jarrahdale but typically with less blue coloration.
Growing Infomation
Cucurbita pepo, 110 days to maturity
Jarrahdale
Jarrahdale
(Ghirardelli)
Flattened like Cinderella but with a light blue/grey color. Deeply ribbed. This pumpkin is an Australian heirloom variety and was developed as a cross between the Blue Hubbard and the Cinderella. The flesh is golden yellow with a mild, only slightly sweet, flavor. Some say this is the best pumpkin for pumpkin pies.
Growing Infomation
Cucurbita pepo, 110 days to maturity
Kabocha
Kabocha
(Japanese Pumpkin, Ebisu, Delica, Hoka, Hokkiado Pumpkin)
Kabocha is very popular in Japan and is produced in many nations for export to Japan. It has a very tough green rind which makes it difficult to carve but its sweet and nutty yellow flesh makes it an excellent choice for cooking. Flesh remains firm and holds its shape after cooking. Generally 2-3 lbs.
Growing Infomation
Cucurbita pepo, 95 days to maturity
Kakai
Kakai

Kakai is another pumpkin from Japan, its skin is grey with orange stripes. Averages 5-8 lbs. This variety is prized for its "naked" seeds which are naturally blue and perfect for roasting. Not preferred for eating but carves well.

Growing Infomation
Cucurbita pepo, 100 days to maturity
Lakota
Blue Lakota
Lakota is an heirloom variety from the American Midwest. Blue/green in color with slight ribs. Oblate and slightly conical on top.
Marina Di Chioggia
An heirloom Italian variety. Squat, warty, and thick skinned green pumpkin with sweet yellow/orange flesh that is excellent for cooking. Usually weighs 6-12 lbs.
Growing Infomation
Cucurbita maxima, 100 days to maturity

Mixed

Fairytale

Fairytale
Fairytale
Fairytale is an old French heirloom variety. When young it is dark green with orange/peach blushes. As it ages the dark green turns to buff orange. Shaped much like Cinderella it is flat with deep ribbing. Flesh is bright orange. Not well suited to carving. Great for eating and pies. 20-30 lbs., ~15" diameter, ~6" high
Growing Infomation
Cucurbita moschata, 110 days to maturity
Long Island Cheese
Long Island Cheese
One of the classic pumpkins of the 19th century. Medium sized (~10 lbs.) with a pale cheese colored skin and light ribbing. Renowned for it's sweet, deep orange colored flesh and it's exceptional keeping qualities.
Growing Infomation
Cucurbita moschata, 105 days to maturity
One Too Many
One Too Many
A relatively new an definitely interesting variety. Mostly round, slightly oblong white field with red veining that darkens with age. Grows to ~20 lbs. on a very large vine. Average eating quality.
Growing Infomation
110 days to maturity, good mildew tolerance
Pump Ke Mon
Pump Ke Mon
(Lil Pump Ke Mon)
Miniature pumpkin with variable coloration and light ribs. Most often a base white or yellow color with splotches and stripes of yellow or green. Keeps well.
Growing Infomation
Cucurbita pepo, 100 days to maturity
Tiger
Tiger
Miniature pumpkin with mottled orange over a yellow base. Ribs are pronounced at the top and fade to a smooth bottom. Generally flattened with recessed stem. ~ 5" diameter, ~ 3" high
Zucca Rotondo
Zucca Rotondo
Zucca Rotondo is an Italian variety of pumpkin. It has deep well spaced ribbing and a mottled yellow and green coloration.

Gourds

Apple Gourd
Apple
(African Squares)
Apple shaped with watermelon-like coloration when fresh. Like other gourds it can be dried and decorated.
Growing Infomation
Lagenaria siceraria, 110 days to maturity
Autumn Wings
Autumn Wings
General term for a variety of gourds with wing-like protrusions. Not good for eating but make excellent decorations.
Growing Infomation
Cucurbita pepo, 95 days to maturity
Cross-Pollinated
Cross-Pollinated hybrid
Gourds and pumpkins are genetically very closely related and cross pollination can occur quite easily producing one of a kind sterile hybrids. The beautiful warted lime green and yellow hybrid pictured here is a one of a kind cross of a unknown gourd with a Howden. While very attractive they are generally inedible. Carvability and keeping quality also vary greatly.

Squash

Banana Squash
Banana Squash
(Jumbo Pink Banana)
The delicately pink on the outside and brilliant yellow inside Banana Squash is excellent for cooking and eating. Measuring two to three feet in length and weighing in between 10-50 pounds,  it is perhaps too large for most fall table displays but well worth buying and preparing.
Growing Infomation
Cucurbita maxima, 105 days to maturity
Carnival Squash
Carnival Squash
Mild flavored and versatile. Flavor is reminiscent of butternet and sweet potato. Gold colored flesh, thick skin. Light colored field with dark green or orange stripes.
Growing Infomation
Cucurbita pepo, 100 days to maturity
Delacata Squash
Delicata Squash
(Sweat Potato Squash)
The Delicata Squash is fast becoming a popular at upscale restaurants throughout the Bay Area. It's well known for its delicate and sweet flavor. Storage is generally fair. Elongated, yellow in color with light ribbing and streaks of orange and green in the recesses.
Growing Infomation
Cucurbita pepo, 100 days to maturity
Green Hubbard
Green Hubbard
(Warted Green Hubbard)
The Hubbard comes in five varieties, a true, a red, a grey or blue, a golden, and a green. Large with a tough rind, cooks well, stores well, tastes excellent. The Green Hubbard is an heirloom variety originally introduced in the 1790's.
Growing Infomation
Cucurbita maxima
Grey Hubbard
Grey Hubbard
(Blue Hubbard)
The Hubbard comes in five varieties, a true, a red, a grey or blue, a golden, and a green. Large, 15-40lbs, with a tough rind, cooks well, tastes excellent.
Growing Infomation
Cucurbita maxima
Red Hubbard
Red Hubbard
(Boston Marrow)
The Hubbard comes in five varieties, a true, a red, a grey or blue, a golden, and a green.  Large with a tough rind, cooks well, tastes excellent.
Growing Infomation
Cucurbita maxima
Turban
Turban Squash
One of the more unusual squashes is the Turban Squash. Highly decorative with white and red to orange coloration it has a fairly bland flavor. It can be scooped out and used as a soup tureen or as a centerpiece.
Growing Infomation
Cucurbita maxima, 90 days to maturity

Other articles in this series:

Click to go forward to pumpkins for jack-o-lanters Pumpkins for Jack-o-Lanterns

Click to go forward to pumpkins for cooking Pumpkins for Cooking

 
   

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