Is pumpkin a fruit, a vegetable, or something else? Let’s find out what pumpkins are from the scientific point of view.
We consider them a symbol of Halloween, we use them in various recipes, or as decorative plants. Yet, there is great uncertainty about pumpkins: are pumpkins fruits? Let’s find out what science thinks about these plants and how biologists classify the product of this plant.
Before jumping to the conclusion of whether pumpkins are fruits, vegetables, or something else, we need to find out how plants are classified by biologists in one category or another.
Is Pumpkin A Fruit?
Many people tend to consider fruit the sweet product of any plant. That’s not the correct approach from the botanists’ point of view. Therefore, science has a particular definition of fruits.
Definition Of A Fruit
Although the definition of a fruit is more complex, in order to keep things simple to understand for everyone, I have extracted some essential characteristics specific to a fruit.
A fruit, is the fleshy or dry ripened ovary of a flowering plant, enclosing the seed or seeds.britannica.com
A fruit results from the maturation of one or more flowers and the gynoecium of the flower(s) forms all or part of the fruit.Wikipedia
So, the key ideas to keep in mind from these two quotes is that:
- A fruit develops directly from a flower
- The pulp of a fruit encloses at least a seed or multiple seeds.
Does a pumpkin fit this definition?
A fruit develops directly from a flower.
Does a pumpkin form straight from a flower?
Before forming the fruit, the pumpkins first produce flowers. Later, these flowers will develop the edible parts anyone is looking for.
The pulp of a fruit encloses at least a seed or multiple seeds.
Does the pulp of a pumpkin holds seeds?
Pumpkins also have this particularity of fruits. Inside the pulp of the pumpkin, we find several seeds. This number may depend on the species of pumpkin.
So, is pumpkin a fruit?
Pumpkin is a fruit as it has all the essential features to botanically fit in the definition of a fruit.
Pumpkins are annual plants in the genus of Cucurbita and cultivated for their fruits or seeds. Generally, people use the word “pumpkin” when referring to various species of pumpkins, squashes, and gourds.
The plants grow in vines that spread freely on the ground or suspended on fences, poles, ropes, or some other type of trellising systems. They have wide rough leaves, and the stems are typically covered with tiny spines.
Pumpkins are grown especially for their fruits which can be of various colors, shapes, and sizes, depending on the species. When they reach maturity, they develop a hard shell, have a thick core, and have seeds inside.
They are particularly grown for their sweet taste and because they can be used in the preparation of various delicious dishes. Additionally, pumpkins are also a rich source of vitamins and nutrients beneficial to health.
There are many different species of pumpkin. Most of them are edible, but not all of them have such great taste or enough pulp. Some are particularly great for seed production or are just raised for decorative purposes.
Many plants are grown as vegetables, but in terms of botanical classification, they are actually fruits. The biggest confusions are when we talk about tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, onions, zucchinis, and other popular plants in our gardens.
This is also the case with pumpkin.
Due to its way of growing, shape, and size, many do not know whether to classify pumpkins as fruits, vegetables, bulbs, or anything else. However, a pumpkin presents the essential characteristics to be considered fruit from a botanical point of view.