squash vs. pumpkin

Discussion in 'English Only' started by monalisa!, Aug 11, 2013.

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  1. monalisa! Banned

    Italia
    spanish
    Is there any difference in your experience between a squash and a pumpkin?
    is squash a more general term? is a pumpkin necessarily round?
     
  2. sdgraham

    sdgraham Senior Member

    Oregon, USA
    USA English
    A pumpkin is just one variety of squash.

    Nobody in the U.s. would know you were talking about a pumpkin if you said 'squash."

    I suggest you read up on pumpkins: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pumpkin
     
  3. monalisa! Banned

    Italia
    spanish
    :) Thanks, sdgraham ,
    your link says pumpkins include zucchini, do you agree?
     
  4. sdgraham

    sdgraham Senior Member

    Oregon, USA
    USA English
    Before I can comment, I have to find it.

    Where, precisely, did you see it?

    It does say "Pumpkins that are still small and green may be eaten in the same way as squash or zucchini."

    (That sentence is not the best since "zucchini" is a type of squash, but doesn't have "squash" in its common name.)
     
  5. monalisa! Banned

    Italia
    spanish
  6. cyberpedant

    cyberpedant Senior Member

    North Adams, MA
    English USA, Northeast, NYC
    Has your last post answered your question satisfactorily, monalisa!?
     
  7. monalisa! Banned

    Italia
    spanish
    Thanks, Cyberdependant
    I am waiting to know if by "pumpkin" you mean also zucchini. as in post #5
    Is pumpkin the same as gourd , or the latter is rather BrE?
     
  8. sdgraham

    sdgraham Senior Member

    Oregon, USA
    USA English
    Taxonomy can be confusing

    See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cucurbita_pepo

    "The species Cucurbita pepo is a cultivated plant of the species Cucurbita pepo ssp. fraterna and another Cucurbita species.[2] It includes varieties of squash, gourd, and pumpkin. It is approved for treatment of prostate disorders in Germany.[3]"

    Note the word varieties. Squash is particularly confusing since it comes in so many forms.

    We are, however, talking about language here, not taxonomy. There is no way on God's green earth that anybody in North America would confuse a pumpkin with a zucchini.
     
  9. sdgraham

    sdgraham Senior Member

    Oregon, USA
    USA English
    A pumpkin is not a gourd, although they are of the same genus.

    We use the word "gourd" for varieties with hard shells. Pumpkins do not have hard shells and they do not become hard when dried.
     
  10. monalisa! Banned

    Italia
    spanish
    I did not notice that, but it is odd as pumpkin and squash are synonyms. Squash (cucurbita) includes zucchini (Cucurbita pepo)
    I started the thread to check whether people are aware that zucchini are pumpkins.
     
  11. monalisa! Banned

    Italia
    spanish
    Sure, common, real language!.
    The question is not confuse with but aware that zucchini are sort of pumpkins. We are discussing it in the Italian forum and for a native speaker it's all in the word:
    <<Non-English words removed. This is the Englsh Only forum>>

    Thanks a lot
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 11, 2013
  12. Myridon

    Myridon Senior Member

    Texas
    English - US
    Also in the same article:
    Some squash that are considered to be pumpkins are not cultivars of the same species as zucchini.
    A pumpkin is a pumpkin and a zucchini is a zucchini regardless of scientific classification. Cultivars of the same species (like breeds of dogs) can vary greatly.
     
  13. sdgraham

    sdgraham Senior Member

    Oregon, USA
    USA English
    Back to the beginning

    Pumpkin and squash are not synonyms in common English usage any more than "coyote" and "dog" are synonyms.

    (Perhaps someone here (AE)can help out the OP by pointing out that if one asked for "squash" pie or wanted to "carve" a "squash" for Halloween, he/she would be considered quite daft.

    It could be, however, that the OP is simply trying to validate a preconceived notion and not looking for help.
     
  14. monalisa! Banned

    Italia
    spanish
    Not at all, I thought so myself, but they are synonyms in taxonomy squash, pumpkin, gourd
     
  15. Myridon

    Myridon Senior Member

    Texas
    English - US
    They are not synonyms. "Great Danes" and "chihuahuas" are the same species, but you wouldn't say those are synonyms, would you?
     
  16. cyberpedant

    cyberpedant Senior Member

    North Adams, MA
    English USA, Northeast, NYC
    Pumpkin and squash are members of the same family but their names are not synonymous. This North American native would never claim that "pumpkins" are identical to "squash."
     
  17. Myridon

    Myridon Senior Member

    Texas
    English - US
    This idea mixes terms from two completely different fields. Put it out of your head.
     
  18. monalisa! Banned

    Italia
    spanish
    pumpkin/squash / gourd ( genus: Cucurbita and Lagenaria) vs. zucchini (Cucurbita pepo species) is like citrus (genus) vs. lemmon/orange/cedar etc (species)
     
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2013
  19. monalisa! Banned

    Italia
    spanish
    You are right, (wiki , not taxonomy is confusing) that article is a mess: Cucurbita is a genus and Cucurbita Pepo is a species as you can read under the picture

    Edit:
    I checked with the SOED and they say that a pumpkin is
    ... a fruit of several plants of the gourd family , esp. the vegetable marrow (Cucurbita Pepo) and the winter squash (Cucurbita maxima). In all languafìges we all associate only the latter with pumpkin , but , according to Oxford, zucchini is a pumpkin.


    Thank you all for your kind help!:)
     
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2013
  20. RM1(SS)

    RM1(SS) Senior Member

    Connecticut
    English - US (Midwest)
    Kindly explain how you arrived at this peculiar conclusion.
     
  21. Sabretooth

    Sabretooth Senior Member

    Buffalo, NY, USA
    American English
    I would never say "squash" to mean "pumpkin," nor would I ever refer to a "zucchini" as a "pumpkin." :confused: A zucchini is a summer squash, not a pumpkin.
     
  22. JulianStuart

    JulianStuart Senior Member

    Sonoma County CA
    English (UK then US)
    In the wiki under Cucurbita, the genus, are the following species (plus others, mainly gourds of different types, but the list of 4 below suffices). Each one exists as several different subspecies or cultivars/crosses/varieties etc. with their own "common" names. For example, the listings under C. pepo are different plants - meaning a field pumpkin is different from yellow summer squash and from zucchini etc. The listing does not mean that those names are just different ones for the same plant.

    C. maxima – winter squash, pumpkin
    C. mixta – pipian, cushaw pumpkin
    C. moschata – butternut squash, 'Dickinson' pumpkin
    C. pepo – acorn squash, field pumpkin, yellow summer squash, zucchini, small multicolored gourds
     
  23. WyomingSue

    WyomingSue Senior Member

    Cheyenne, WY
    English--USA
    Speaking as a gardener who just picked a basket of zucchini, in the gardening parts of the U.S. we have: zucchini (a prolific long green summer squash), other summer squash (which may be other shapes of green or any shape of soft-skinned yellow), winter squash (hard skinned of various shapes and colors) and pumpkin(which is hard-skinned and normally round or oval and orange). If you want to get fancy you can buy seeds for white pumpkins, but if you ask a child to draw a pumpkin she will draw a big orange circle.
    Discussions about scientific names are a different issue altogether.

    Edit: just to note, a gourd is very hard-skinned, a pumpkin's skin is medium hard but you can cut it with a knife. The summer squashes can be eaten unpeeled.
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2013
  24. monalisa! Banned

    Italia
    spanish
    Hi, RM1(SS)
    I started this thread as I wanted to know how English speaking people feel about these various terms, as I was posting in the Italian English forum.
    I found out that they feel like all other people, Spanish, Italian or other: that zucchini are not ( are different from) pumpkins.

    But I have grown them since childhood and I know, as any gardener, that zucchini (= piccola zucca [little/ baby pumpkins] in Italian it is plural), courgette (petit courge [little pumpkin]) are just a species of pumpkin which are usually eaten before they reach full growth, but, if you let them grow they become regular pumpkins. The only difference is the they would not last through winter, that's why "summer squash"
    This conclusion is suported by science (taxonomy) and reliable sources like SOED:

    (Cucurbitacee, SOED) gourd, family: Cucurbitacee; genera: [Cucumis], Cucurbita, Lagenaria (siceraria commonly referred to as [bottle-]gourds SOED)

    gourd-pumpkin-squash
    ...genera: Cucurbita, Lagenaria
    pumpkin (SOED)..............genus: Cucurbita species: Maxima = winter/ autumn squash (commonly referred to as pumpkin); species: Pepo marrow (SOED)

    [vegetable] marrow...........genus: Cucurbita species: Pepo (also called courgette and zucchini in AmE)
    ........................................genus: Cucurbita species: Muschata cv. Tromboncino = climbing zucchini
    ........................................genus: Lagenaria species: siceraria (zucchini before the discovery of America, or bottle-gourds)
    marrows are usually referred to as summer squash


    Please add your comments as to the usage of terms in your part of the world!
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2013
  25. JulianStuart

    JulianStuart Senior Member

    Sonoma County CA
    English (UK then US)
    Using terms currently used in the English-speaking world (not based on any words currently used in Italian): Zucchini do not turn into pumpkins if you let them grow, (they turn into what is known as a marrow in the UK - I have no idea what the folks in the US call them if you let them grow that size, but it is definitely not pumpkin). Small pumpkins are not zucchini in English. Zucchini are not a species of pumpkin. Zucchini are a species in the genus Cucurbita, and so are pumpkins, and so are many gourds. They are all different.
     
  26. sdgraham

    sdgraham Senior Member

    Oregon, USA
    USA English
    !. Throwing around generalities, such as "any gardener" to support a hopeless argument is usually not productive.
    2. We have a half-acre vegetable garden (.2 hectares) and have raised many zucchini and pumpkins, as they are known in the U.S. I think we can be included in the "any gardener" category.
    3. That which we know as zucchini do not grow into that which we know as pumpkins. They just keep growing into bigger and bigger long and green zucchini.

    Like this one

    (Just as Chihuahuas do not grow into St. Bernards)

    Julian Stuart is spot-on.
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2013
  27. dadane Senior Member

    New Zealand
    English (London/Essex)
    Courgette in BE = Zucchini in AE. They are green and elongated, and stay greenish and elongated even if you let them grow to seed. I have grown courgettes but never pumpkins, I don't like them. However, I have seen the term 'courgette' applied to other squashes in Europe, in particular, small yellow UFO shaped ones.
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2013
  28. monalisa! Banned

    Italia
    spanish
    Hi Julian, please , don't shoot the pianist :(, relata refero!

    I just quoted SOED, if you do not have quick access to it, I'll quote the full text:
    pumpkin (Vol II p. 2413):

    The large egg-shaped or globose fruit of several plants of the gourd family, esp. varieties of the vegetable marrow Cucurbita Pepo, and winter squash Cucurbita maxima.....

    The marrow, full grown or baby marrow (AmE= zucchini) is a pumpkin (it was even given first choice in the dictionary), zucchini is a baby pumpkin
    a full-grown marrow is an egg-shaped pumpkin, it gradually loses its taste, then gets a disgusting taste then in a few months (before Christmas) becomes an empty, fragile shell full of seeds good for sowing , as any gardener knows. Thats why it is eaten when it is small, that is why it is called summer squash.

    The misunterstandig arises (in all languages and I was surprised myself) because we identify pumpkins with the species Cucurbita maxima, the winter squash, instead of the genus Cucurbita.

    We would do the same mistake if we identified citrus with lemmon and said that oranges are not citrus.
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2013
  29. JulianStuart

    JulianStuart Senior Member

    Sonoma County CA
    English (UK then US)
    I find your edited quotes from the dictionaries confusing. I found some straightforward unedited ones from this Oxford dictionary
    .
    None of the native English speakers who responded agree with the assertion that "zucchini are pumpkins". The descriptions from the dictionaries for the two are different (in bold above). The descriptions from the members are different. Most of the responders are from the US but the two who are not also disagree. None of us use the term "pumpkin" as a general word to cover the genus Cucurbita. So we are "aware that zucchini are not pumpkins".

    Perhaps
    the SOED and some people (but apparently no-one from the US) do use the term pumpkin that way. Members of that group might agree that zucchini are members of the large group generally called pumpkins.
     
  30. bennymix

    bennymix Senior Member

    Ontario, Canada. I grew up in US.
    English (American).
    Monalisa said, //But I have grown them since childhood and I know, as any gardener, that zucchini (= piccola zucca [little/ baby pumpkins] in Italian it is plural), courgette (petit courge [little pumpkin]) are just a species of pumpkin which are usually eaten before they reach full growth, but, if you let them grow they become regular pumpkins.//

    ML, your question was about English common usage, so the translation arguments above are not relevant. The alleged fact that 'piccola zucca' means literally 'baby pumpkins' is neither here nor there. Dealing with your French example, 'petit courge' need not be translated 'little pumpkin'. Courge can simply be translated as 'squash'. Scientific classifications do not trump common usage. Technically (botanically), the cashew nut is a fruit, but no one calls them fruits. If asked to buy some fruit for guests at dinner, I do not go and buy cashew nuts, and say, "Well, they are really fruits, dear."

    There was a famous court case in the US, Nix v. Hedden, 149 U.S. 304 (1893), which decided that tomatoes were vegetables (according to common usage). The botanical fact that tomatoes are fruits is another matter. No one, US, expects a 'fruit bowl' to contain tomatoes.

    As per Julian and others, zuchinni, or 'zukes', if left to grow, become giant zukes (AE). And pumpkins, picked very early and green are still pumpkins (AE).
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2013
  31. lucas-sp Senior Member

    English - Californian
    Not to jump on you, monalisa, but you are dead wrong.
    I think what's happening is that you've confused "squash" and "pumpkin." A "pumpkin" is a kind of "squash," but not all "squash" are "pumpkins." In American English, "squash" is the term for the whole class of vegetables (zucchini, pumpkins, squash) and "pumpkin" is the term for a sub-variety.

    If you correct this error, your previously-cited sentences are correct:
    My sense is that this is difficult for Europeans to grasp because, quite simply, pumpkins are vanishingly rare in Europe, while they are a huge part of American culture. Pumpkins are the things we carve into Jack-o-Lanterns at Halloween, and the things that make the pie we eat at Thanksgiving. They are a very specific, and culturally distinct, portion of the general category of "squash."
     
  32. monalisa! Banned

    Italia
    spanish
    I started this thread to learn how native speakers feel about squash and pumpkin, and I am still eager to learn.

    (I was asked to substantiate my statements about zucchini being pumpkins (and squash I suppose) and I complied.
    Someone found my explanations unsatisfactory or confusing and I quote SOED verbatim.

    If you all refuse the authority of SOED in "...defining terms currently used in the English-speaking world", I cannot comment on that.

    I suppose you trust the Merriam Webster, here is its current definition:
    Definition of PUMPKIN1
    a : a fruit of any of various cultivars of herbaceous plants (Cucurbita pepo, C. maxima, C. moschata, and C. mixta syn.C. argyrosperma) of the gourd family that is typically round ....

    it sounds unmistakably clear (at least to me, but maybe I cannot understand properly): any fruit of the genus Cucurbita, including the genus pepo (zucchini) is a pumpkin. If you want to argue, argue with Oxford and Webster, not with me, pleeeeease :(!
    I have shown you where is your mistake:
    " Zucchini are a species in the genus Cucurbita, and so are pumpkins,":

    pumpkin refers to a genus but is used to refer to some species (winter squash) and in particular to the genus: Cucurbita maxima. Most people identify pumpkin with winter squash and therefore assume that Cucurbita pepo is not a pumpkin)

    I'll be glad to read some comments about the difference between squash and pumpkin.

    Thanks, everybody :)
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2013
  33. RM1(SS)

    RM1(SS) Senior Member

    Connecticut
    English - US (Midwest)
    As was said before, pumpkins and zucchini are different varieties of of Cucurbita pepo, just as dachshunds and wolves are different varieties of Canis lupus. They are not the same thing.
     
  34. PaulQ

    PaulQ Senior Member

    UK
    English - England
    All pumpkins are squashes, but not all squashes are pumpkins.

    There are people who will lazily and informally refer to anything that resembles a pumpkin (externally and/or internally) as a pumpkin; avoid this, especially when shopping for food.
     
  35. monalisa! Banned

    Italia
    spanish
    Thanks a lot , PaulQ, I am beginning to see a light
    Can you expand on that, please :)

    From SOED and even infamous Wiki I got the idea that squash is a more technical term (summer/winter) squash, used by gourmet and by botanists to name plants, and that pumpkin was a more common, ordinary-people term and is used less frequently in the names of the plants.
    But according to taxonomy they are equivalent as they refer to all species in the genus http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cucurbita.
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2013
  36. PaulQ

    PaulQ Senior Member

    UK
    English - England
    This is a case of synecdoche. The pumpkin subset (i.e. those things that are really pumpkins) is far commoner than all the other subsets of the squash family and therefore the whole set of squashes and any member of the squash family may be referred to as "a pumpkin."

    Therefore the word 'pumpkin' has two meanings* - (i) a real pumpkin - i.e. the large orange gourd that is carved for Halloween and (ii) more or less any squash.

    You will see from the many posts above that meaning (ii) is obviously a meaning that seems to be unusual to the majority of people here. The people here, from both sides of the Atlantic, are well-read and well-informed. I therefore suggest that you follow their practice avoid meaning (ii) and use squash as the term for the family of gourds and pumpkin for the pie ingredient and the large orange gourd popular at Halloween.



    * there are other meaning but they do not concern this discussion.
     
  37. Myridon

    Myridon Senior Member

    Texas
    English - US
    Let's try this again...
    Does that seem reasonable to you? Do you think wolves, jackals, coyotes, and all breeds of dogs are equivalent?
     
  38. monalisa! Banned

    Italia
    spanish
    Thanks, Paul, of course in practice I do that, and I confessed I learned only researching for this post that zucchini (Cucurbita pepo) is just a squash (or pumpkin).

    What about UK, would anybody know that squash is pumpkin?
     
  39. monalisa! Banned

    Italia
    spanish
    I you quote me , you should quote me right:
    Canis is a genus (like Cucurbita = squash= pumpkin) and dog a species Canls Lupus (familiaris ssp.) (like Cucurbita Pepo = zucchini). If you want to make a comparison then I think all breeds of dog is a canis
     
  40. PaulQ

    PaulQ Senior Member

    UK
    English - England
    :D They would probably know that a pumpkin is a type of squash, but not that squash is a [type of] pumpkin (because that is wrong.)

    My aunt used to grow gourds at one time for their decorative appearance, and she referred (correctly) to all squashes as 'gourds'.

    I suggest you do a small experiment. In Google Images, type in "Pumpkin" and see how many things are shown that are not of the large, orange/yellow, roughly spherical type of gourd used at Halloween.

    The deal is that you give me $1 for each example of a pumpkin that is large, orange/yellow, roughly spherical and of the type used at Halloween, and I give you $10 for each one that is not. (I've done the experiment and you owe me $1,016 and I owe you nothing... :D)
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2013
  41. monalisa! Banned

    Italia
    spanish
    Your aunt was right as gourd is a hypernym (family), but it includes also cucumbers, melons etc. which are not squashes. Not all gourds ar squashes.But,

    Please correct me if I am wrong : all zucchini(s) are (summer) squashes ergo all zucchini are squashes
    You're smart Paul,:D, I have done that game before a started the thread, but the problem is that if you type "squash" you get mostly gyms.
    But the single Buttercup squash gets some 80 000 hits and if you look at the pictures (https://www.google.it/search?q="but...urce=og&sa=N&tab=wi&ei=rTEKUsDzNsXf4QTNtYG4Dg)
    can anyone deny that that squash is a pumpkin allright?
     
  42. PaulQ

    PaulQ Senior Member

    UK
    English - England
    All zucchini are summer squashes
    All summer squashes are squashes
    Therefore, all zucchini are squashes

    Your logic is impeccable. :thumbsup:
     
  43. JustKate

    JustKate Moderate Mod

    Monalisa, we all "deny that squash is a pumpkin." Every single one of us.

    Zucchini are squash. Pumpkins are squash. But that doesn't mean that all squash are pumpkins, just as it doesn't mean that all zucchini are pumpkins. Some of those images you linked to are pumpkins, as far as I can tell, but some are not.
     
  44. sound shift

    sound shift Senior Member

    Derby (central England)
    English - England
    I can only speak for myself. I would have said to myself, "They are related". Pumpkin is not popular in the UK. My only contact with it is via those young people who have adopted the American custom of Halloween. Squash rarely appears on our plates. I imagine that this lack of popularity affects people's grasp of the relationship between these two vegetables.
     
  45. monalisa! Banned

    Italia
    spanish
    hoorah, :D, let's try this now (more risky):
    all zucchini are Cucurbita pepo, all Cucurbita pepo are pumpkins (Webster, SOED) all zucchini are pumpkins
     
  46. monalisa! Banned

    Italia
    spanish
    I suppose the do not grow in UK, as they require at least 6 months of heat, we plant them at the end of April and harvest them at the end of October.
    I suppose gourd is more familiar. But do ordinary people think that they are just the decorative botttle-gourds, or know that all squashes are gourds?
     
  47. sound shift

    sound shift Senior Member

    Derby (central England)
    English - England
    I doubt whether most ordinary people here think about squashes at all. "Gourd" is not an everyday word here.
     
  48. monalisa! Banned

    Italia
    spanish
    That is interesting and odd, Kate, as all images refer to the same fruit : the buttercup squash. Could you tell us which fruits are not pumpkins, are they more numerous than the pumpkins ? And more than anything , (that would give us a clue, at last) what is the standard, the criterion you use to decide?

    Anyway, we did find some squashes that are pumpkins, to begin with.
     
  49. JustKate

    JustKate Moderate Mod

    Monalisa, may I ask why you keep saying that all zucchini are pumpkins? You've been told clearly and unequivocally that they are not, so why are you insisting that they are? All zucchini are squash, and all pumpkins are squash, but that doesn't make the reverse true.

    Here is an article from the University of Illinois Cooperative Extension Service that explains the differences between the various squashes pretty well. It's written specifically for gardeners, so perhaps you'll find it useful.

    As for gourds, I use that only for the the hard-shelled, uneatable squashes, and I think that's pretty common. Botanists might call other things gourds, but I don't think the regular gardening public does.

    (Cross-posted with Monalisa)
     
  50. Myridon

    Myridon Senior Member

    Texas
    English - US
    You said all things in the same GENUS are equivalent, therefore jackals and chihuahuas are exactly the same thing. I can trade your pet for a jackal and you would never notice the difference. I would never say that chihuahuas and poodles are equivalent and they are different breeds within the same subspecies (three levels down from genus and they are not the same thing). You're also ignoring the fact that not all the things that we call "pumpkin" are cultivars of the species Curcubita pepo. There is not a one-to-one relationship between pumpkin and species.
    You say you want to learn, but you seem to only want to have things your way.
     
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