Pumpkins: Fun Facts about Fall's Jolly Mascot

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It's no secret that pumpkin spice everything has taken over the world at this time of year. Whether you're gleefully sipping a pumpkin spice latte while reading this or you're one of the folks saying "bah humbug!" about the whole trend, I hope you'll enjoy learning a few facts about these orange bundles of joy (I bet you can guess where I fall on the issue!).

Pumpkins are a type of squash. The botanical name for their category of fruit (bonus fact: in scientific terms, pumpkins are fruits) is cucurbit, and the larger family also includes gourds and melons.

This year the classic Halloween special, "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown" turns 50. Linus has been believing in the epic squash for even longer; the first reference to the Great Pumpkin is in a Peanuts comic strip from 1959.

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Pumpkins can grow on every continent except for Antarctica. They were originally cultivated thousands of years ago in the region we now know as Mexico. Today, the U.S. is one of the biggest pumpkin producers globally, along with Mexico, Canada, China, and India.

Pumpkins are pollinated by native bee species and honeybees. Have you heard about declining bee populations? Check out our series from last year to get the facts about why bees are dying and what you can do to help.

Jack-o'-lanterns are made from pumpkins today, but they originally come from Ireland where they were made from potatoes and turnips. Learn more about the legend behind this Halloween tradition here.

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The current world record holder for largest pumpkin was grown in 2014 by a man named Beni Meier. It weighed in at 2,323.7 pounds - that's more than a Smart Car!

The word "pumpkin" is an American development. It started out as pepon, a Greek word that means "large melon". In France it became "pompon". The Brits changed it "pumpion". In the American colonies, the word transformed one more time to land at "pumpkin".


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