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biodiversity explorer

the web of life in southern Africa

Cucurbita maxima (Pumpkin, Hubbard squash)

Life > eukaryotes > Archaeoplastida > Chloroplastida > Charophyta > Streptophytina > Plantae (land plants) > Tracheophyta (vascular plants) > Euphyllophyta > Lignophyta (woody plants) > Spermatophyta (seed plants) > Angiospermae (flowering plants) > Eudicotyledons > Core Eudicots > Rosids > Eurosid I > Order: Cucurbitales > Family: Cucurbitaceae

Cucurbita maxima originates from temperate South America where it was domesticated from Cucurbita andreana which is native to Argentina and Uruguay. The earliest archaeological remains are from 1800 BC in Peru. There are a wide variety of cultivars with Hubbard being the most commonly encountered in southern Africa. Varieties of Cucurbita maxima can be distinguished from those of Cucurbita pepo by soft rounded stems, not angular and bristly. Fruit have high levels of minerals and Vitamin A.


  • Sauer, J.D. 1993. Historical geography of crop plants - a select roster. CRC Press, Boca Raton, Florida.

  • van Wyk, B.-E. 2005. Food Plants of the World - Identification, Culinary Uses and Nutritional Value. Briza, Pretoria.

Text by Hamish Robertson