Cucurbita (Sturtevant, 1919)
Cucurbita (Sturtevant, 1919)
Cucurbita maxima Duchesne.
Cucurbitaceae. TURBAN SQUASH.
Nativity undetermined. The Turban squash is easily recognized by its form, to which it is indebted for its name. This is possibly the Chilean mamillary Indian gourd of Molina, described as with spheroidal fruit with a large nipple at the end, the pulp sweet and tasting like the sweet potato. In 1856, Naudin describes le turban rouge and le turban nouveau du Bresil, the latter of recent introduction from South America. Its description accords with the Cucurbita clypeiformis tuberoso and verrucoso, seen by J. Bauhin in 1607. The Zapilliot, from Brazil, advertised by Gregory in 1880, and said by Vilmorin to have reached France from South America about 1860, resembles the Turban squash in shape. This evidence, such as it is, points to South America as the starting point of this form.
The squashes of our markets, par excellence, are the marrows and the Hubbard, with other varieties of the succulent-stemmed. These found representation in our seed catalog in 1828, in the variety called Corn. Porter's Valparaiso, which was brought from Chile shortly after the war of 1812. In the New England Farmer, September 11, 1824, notice is made of a kind of melon-squash or pumpkin from Chile, which is possibly the Valparaiso. The Hubbard squash is said by Gregory, its introducer in 1857, to be of unknown origin but to resemble a kind which was brought by a sea captain from the West Indies. The Marblehead, also introduced by Gregory and distributed in 1867, is said to have come directly from the West Indies. The Autumnal Marrow or Ohio, was introduced in 1832 and was exhibited at the rooms of the Massachusetts Horticultural Society.
The Turban squash does not appear in any of the figures or descriptions of the herbalists, except as hereinafter noted for Lobel.
Cucurbita moschata Duchesne.
CANADA CROOKNECK. CUSHAW. WINTER CROOKNECK.
Nativity undetermined. The Winter Crookneck squash seems to have been first recorded by Ray, who received the seeds from Sir Hans Sloane and planted them in his garden. This is the variety now known as the Striped. It has apparently been grown in New England from the earliest times and often attains a large size. Josselyn refers to a cucurbit that may be this, the fruit " longish like a gourd," the very comparison made by Ray. Kalm mentions a winter squash in New Jersey called "crooked neck," and Carver, 1776, speaks of "crane-necks" being preserved in the West for winter supply.
A sub variety, the Puritan, answers to Beverley's description of a form which he calls Cushaw, an Indian name recognizable in the Ecushaw of Hariot, 1586. This form was grown at the New York Agricultural Experiment Station in 1884 from seed obtained from the Seminoles of Florida and appears synonymous with the Neapolitan, to which Vilmorin applies the French synonym, courge de la Florida.
Cucurbita pepo Linn.
GOURD. PUMPKIN. SQUASH. THE SQUASH.
Nativity undetermined. The word " squash " seems to have been derived from the American aborigines and in particular from those tribes occupying the northeastern Atlantic coast. It seems to have been originally applied to the summer squash. Roger Williams writes the word "askutasquash,"—"their vine apples,—which the English from them call squashes; about the bigness of apples, of several colors." Josselyn gives another form to the word, writing, "squashes," "but more truly 'squoutersquashes,' a kind of mellon or rather gourd, for they sometimes degenerate into gourds. Some of these are green, some yellow, some longish, like a gourd; others round, like an apple; all of them pleasant food boyled and buttered, and seasoned with spice. But the yellow squash — called an apple squash (because like an apple), and about the bigness of a pome water—is the best kind." This apple squash, by name at least, as also by the description so far as applicable, is even now known to culture but is rarely grown on account of its small size.
Van der Donck, after speaking of the pumpkins of New Netherlands, 1642-53, adds: "The natives have another species of this vegetable peculiar to themselves, called by our people quaasiens, a name derived from the aborignes, as the plant was not known to us before our intercourse with them. It is a delightful fruit, as well to the eye on account of its fine variety of colors, as to the mouth for its agreeable taste. ... It is gathered in summer, and when it is planted in the middle of April, the fruit is fit for eating by the first of June. They do not wait for it to ripen before making use of the fruit, but only until it has attained a certain size. They gather the squashes, and immediately place them on the fire without any further trouble." In 1683, Worlidge uses the word squash, saying: "There are lesser sorts of them (pompeons) that are lately brought into request that are called 'squashes,' the edible fruit whereof, boyled and serv'd up with powdered beef is esteemed a good sawce." Kalm, in his Travels, says distinctly: "The squashes of the Indians, which now are cultivated by Europeans, belong to those kind of gourds which ripen before any other." These squashes of New England were apparently called "sitroules " by Champlain, 1605, who describes them "as big as the fist." Lahontan, 1703, calls the squashes of southern Canada citrouilles " and compares them with the melon, which indicates a round form.
These "squashes," now nearly abandoned in culture, would seem to be synonymous, in some of their varieties at least, with the Maycock of Virginia and the Virginian watermelon described in Gerarde's Herball as early as 1621.
The Perfect Gem squash, introduced in 1881, seems to belong to this class and is very correctly figured by Tragus, 1552, who says they are called Mala indica, or, in German, Indianisch apffel, and occur in four colors; saffron-yellow, creamy-white, orange, and black. He also gives the name Sommer apffel, which indicates an early squash, and the names zucco de Syria and zucco de Peru, which indicate a foreign origin. To identify this squash, with its claim of recent introduction, as synonymous with Tragus' Cucumis, seu zucco marinus, may seem un justifiable. The Perfect Gem and Tragus plants have the following points in common: fruit of like form and size; so also the leaf, if the proportions between leaf and fruit as figured may be trusted; seed sweet in both; color alike, "Quae Candida foris and quae ex pallido lutea swit poma." The plants are runners in both. Compared also with the description of the Maycock, it appears to be the same in all but color. A curious instance of survival seems to be here noted, or else the regaining of a lost form through atavism. A careful comparison with the figures and the description given would seem to bring together as synonyms:
- Cucumis marinus. Fuch. 699. 1542. Roeszl. 116. 1550.
- Cucumis vel zucco marinus. Trag. 835. 1552.
- Cucurbita indica rotunda. Dalechamp l:n6. 1587.
- Pepo rotundis minor. Dod. 666. i6i6.
- Pepo minor rotundis. Bodaeus 783. 1644.
- Cucurbitae folio aspero, sive zucckae. Icon. IV., Chabr. 130. 1673.
- The Maycock. Ger. 919. 1633.
- The Perfect Gem. 1881.
The distinctions between the various forms of cucurbits seem to have been kept in mind by the vernacular writers, who did not use the words pompion and gourd, as synonyms. Thus, in 1535, Cartier mentions as found among the Indians of Hochelega, now Montreal, "pompions, gourds." In 1586, Hariot mentions in Virginia "pompions, melons, and gourds;" Captain John Smith "pumpions and macocks;" Strachey, who was in Virginia in 1610, mentions "macocks and pumpions" as differing. "Pumpions and gourds" are named by Smith for New England in 1614. In 1648, at the mouth of the Susquehanna, mention is made of " symnels and maycocks."
The word "squash," in its early use, we may conclude, applied to those varieties of cucurbits which furnish a summer vegetable and was carefully distinguished from the pumpkin. Kalm, in the eighteenth century, distinguishes between pumpkins, gourds and squashes. The latter are the early sorts; the gourd includes the late sorts useful for winter supplies; and under the term pompion, or melon, the latter name and contemporary use gives the impression of roundness and size, are included sorts grown for stock. Jonathan Carver, soon after Kalm, gives indication of the confusion now existing in the definition of what constitutes a pumpkin and a squash when he says "the melon or pumpkin, which by some are called squashes," and he names among other forms the same variety, the crookneck or craneneck, as he calls it, which Kalm classed among gourds.
At the present time, the word squash is used only in America, gourds, pumpkins, and marrows being the equivalent English names, and the American use of the word is so confusing that it can only be defined as applying to those varieties of cucurbits which are grown in gardens for table use; the word pumpkin applies to those varieties grown in fields for stock purposes; and the word gourd to those ornamental forms with a woody rind and bitter flesh, or to the Lagenaria.
The form of cucurbit now so generally known as Bush or Summer Squash is correctly figured in 1673 by Pancovius, under the name of Melopepo clypeatus Tab. What may be the fruit, was figured by Lobel, 1591; by Dodonaeus, 1616; and similar fruit with the vine and leaf, by Dalechamp, 1587; Gerarde, 1597; Dodonaeus, 1616; and by J. Bauhin, 1651. By Ray, 1686, it is called in the vernacular "the Buckler," or "Simnel-Gourd." This word cymling or cymbling, used at the present day in the southern states for the Scalloped Bush Squash in particular, was used in 1648 in A Description of New Albion but spelled "Symnels." Jefferson wrote the word "cymling." In 1675, Thomson, in a poem entitled New England's Crisis, uses the word "cimnel," and distinguishes it from the pumpkin. There is no clue as to the origin of the word, but it was very possibly of aboriginal origin, as its use has not been transferred to Europe. In England this squash is called Crown Gourd and Custard Marrow; in the United States generally, it is the Scalloped Squash, from its shape, though locally, Cymling or Patty-pan, the latter name derived from the resemblance to a crimped pan used in the kitchen for baking cakes. It was first noticed in Europe in the sixteenth century and has the following synonymy:
- Cucurbita laciniata. Dalechamp 1:618. 1587.
- Melopepo latior clypeiformis'. Lob. Icon. 1:642. 1591.
- Pepo maximum clypeatus. Ger. 774. 1597.
- Pepo latus. Dod. 666. i6i6.
- Pepo latiorus fructus. Dod. 667. i6i6.
- Cucurbita clypeiformis sive Siciliana melopepon latus a nonnulis vocata. Bauh. J. 2:224. 1651. (First known to him in 1561.)
- Melopepo clypeatus. Pancov. n. 920. 1653.
- The Bucklet, or Simnel-Gourd. Ray Hist. 1:6481. 1686.
- Summer Scolloped.
The Bush Crookneck is also called a squash. Notwithstanding its peculiar shape and usually warted condition, it does not seem to have received much mention by the early colonists and seems to have escaped the attention of the pre-Linnean botanists, who were so apt to figure new forms. The most we know is that the varietal name Summer Crookneck appeared in our garden catalogs in 1828, and it is perhaps referred to by Champlain in 1605. It is now recommended in France rather as an ornamental plant than for kitchen use.
The Pineapple squash, in its perfect form, is of a remarkably distinctive character on account of its acorn shape and regular projection. As grown, however, the fruit is quite variable and can be closely identified with the Pepo indicus angulosus of Gerarde and is very well described by Ray, 1686. This variety was introduced in 1884 by Land-reth from seed which came originally from Chile. It is a winter squash, creamy white when harvested, of a deep yellow at a later period.
The word "pumpkin" is derived from the Greek pepon, Latin pepo. In the ancient Greek, it was used by Galen as a compound to indicate ripe fruit as sikuopepona, ripe cucumber; as, also, by Theophrastus peponeas and Hippocrates sikuon peponia. The word pepo was transferred in Latin to large fruit, for Pliny says distinctly that cucumeres, when of excessive size, are called pepones. By the commentators, the word pepo is often applied to the melon. Fuchsius, 1542, figures the melon under the Latin name pepo, German, pfeben; and Scaliger, 1566, Dalechamp, 1587, and Castor Durante, 1617, apply this term pepo or pepon likewise to the melon. The derivatives from the word pepo appear in the various European languages as follows:
Belgian: pepoenem, Lob. Obs. 1576; pompeon, Marcg. 1648, Vilm. 1883.
English: pepon, Lyte 1586; pompon, Lyte 1586; pompion, Ger. 1597; pumpion, J. Smith 1606; pumpkin, Townsend 1726.
French: pompons, Ruel. 1536; pepon, Dod. Gal. 1559.
Italian: popone, Don. 1834.
Swedish: pumpa, Tengborg 1764; pompa, Webst. Diet.
In English, the words "melon" and "million" were early applied to the pumpkin, as by Lyte 1586, Gerarde 1597 and 1633, and by a number of the early narrators of voy ages of discovery. Pumpkins were called gourds by Lobel, 1586, and by Gerarde, 1597, and the word gourd is at present in use in England to embrace the whole class and is equivalent to the French courge. In France, the word courge is given by Matthiolus, 1558, and Pinaeus, 1561, and seems to have been used as applicable to the pumpkin by early navigators, as by Cartier, 1535. The word courge was also applicable to the lagenarias 1536, 1561, 1586, 1587, 1597, 1598, 1617, 1651, 1673 and 1772, and was shared with the pumpkin and squash in 1883.
Our earliest travelers and historians often recognized in the pumpkin a different fruit from the courge, the gourd, or the melon. Cartier, on the St. Lawrence, 1584, discriminates by using the words "gros melons, concombres and courges" or in a translation "pompions, gourds, cucumbers." In 1586, a French name for what appears to be the summer squash is given by Lyte as concombre marin. With this class, we may interpret Cartier's names into gros melons, pumpkins, concombres, summer squashes, and courge, winter crooknecks, as the shape and hard shell of this variety would suggest the gourd or lagenaria. In 1586, Hariot, in Virginia, says: "Macoks were, according to their several forms, called by us pompions, melons and gourds, because they are of the like forms as those kinds in England. In Virginia, such of several forms are of one taste, and very good, and so also spring from one seed. They are of two sorts: one is ripe in the space of a month, and the other in two months." Hariot, apparently, confuses all the forms with the macock, which, as we have shown in our notes on squashes, appears identical with the type of the Perfect Gem squash, or the Cucumis marinus of Fuchsius. The larger sorts may be his pompions, the round ones his melons, and the cushaw type his gourds; for, as we shall observe, the use of the word pompion seems to include size, and that of gourd, a hard rind. Acosta, indeed, speaks of the Indian pompions in treating of the large-sized fruits. Capt. John Smith, in his Virginia, separates his pumpions and macocks, both planted by the Indians amongst their corn and in his description of New England, 1614, speaks of "pumpions and gourds." This would seem to indicate that he had a distinction in mind, and we may infer that the word pompion was used for the like productions of the two localities and that the word gourd in New England referred to the hard-rind or winter squashes; for, Master Graves refers to Indian pompions, Rev. Francis Higginson to pompions, and Wood to pompions and isquoutersquashes in New England soon after its colonization. Josselyn, about the same period, names also gourds, as quoted in our notes on the squash. Kalm, about the middle of the eighteenth century, traveling in New Jersey, names "squashes of the Indians," which are a summer fruit, "gourds," meaning the winter crookneck, and "melons," which we may conclude are pumpkins; Jonathan Carver, 1776, speaks of the melon or pumpkin, called by some squashes, and says the smaller sorts are for summer use, the crane-neck for winter use and names the Large Oblong. In 1822, Woods speaks of pompons, or pumpions, in Illinois, as often weighing from 40 to 60 pounds.
The common field pumpkin of America is in New England carried back traditionally to the early settlement and occurs under several forms, which have received names that are usually quite local. Such formvarieties may be tabulated alphabetically, as below, from Burr:
Canada. Form oblate. 14 in. diam., 10 in. deep. Deep orange-yellow.
Cheese. Flattened. 16 in. diam., 10 in. deep. Deep reddish-orange.
Common Yellow. Rounded. 12 in. diam., 14 in. deep. Clear orangeyellow.
Long Yellow. Oval. 10 in. diam., 20 in. deep. Bright orange-yellow.
Nantucket. Various. 18 in. diam., 10 in. deep. Deep green.
The Canada pumpkin is of an oblate form inclining to conic, and is deeply and regularly ribbed and, when well grown, of comparatively large size. It is somewhat variable in size and shape, however, as usually seen. The following synonymy is justified:
- Cucurbita indica, rotunda. Dalechamp 1:616. 1587.
- Pepo rotundus compressus melonis effigie. Lob. Obs. 365. 1576; Icon. l:642. 1591.
- (?) Pepo indicum minor rotundus. Ger. 774. 1597.
- Pepo silvestris. Dod. 668. 1616.
- Melopepo. Tourn. t. 34. 1719.
- Canada Pumpkin. Vermont Pumpkin.
The fruit is much flattened, deeply and rather regularly ribbed, broadly dishing about cavity and basin. It varies somewhat widely in the proportional breadth and diameter.
- Melopepo compressus alter. Lob. Icon. 1:643. 1591.
- Pepo maximus compressus. Ger. 774. 1597.
- Cucurbita genus, sive Melopepo compressus alter, Lobelia. Bauh. J. 2:266. 1651.
- Large Cheese. Fessenden 1828; Bridgeman 1832,
This variety, says Burr, was extensively disseminated in the United States at the time of the American Revolution and was introduced into New England by returning soldiers.
The fruit is rounded, a little deeper than broad, flattened at the ends, and rather regularly and more or less prominently ribbed.
- Cucurbita indica. Cam. Epit. 293. 1586.
- Melopepo teres. Lob. Icon. 1:643. 1591.
- Pepo maximus rotundus.- Ger. 773. 1597.
- Cucurbita aspera Icon. I. Bauh. J. 2:218. 1651.
- Cucurbita folio aspero, zucha. Chabr. 130. 1673.
- Common Yellow Field Pumpkin.
The fruit is oval, much elongated, the length nearly, or often twice, the diameter, of large size, somewhat ribbed, but with markings less distinct than those of the Common Yellow.
- Cucumis Tzircicus. Fuch. 698. 1542.
- Melopepo. Roeszl. 116. 1550.
- Pepo. Trag. 831. 1552.
- Cucurbita indica longa. Dalechamp 1:617. 1587.
- Pepo maximus oblongus. Ger. 773. 1597.
- Pepo major oblongus. Dod. 635. 1616; Bodaeus 782. 1644.
- Cucurbita folio aspero, zucha. Chabr. 130. 1673.
- Long Yellow Field Pumpkin.
The Jurumu Lusitanus Bobora of Marcgravius and Piso would seem to belong here except for the leaves, but the figure is a poor one. These forms just mentioned, all have that something in their common appearance that at once expresses a close relationship and to the casual observer does not express differences.
We now pass to some other forms, also known as pumpkins, but to which the term squash is sometimes applied.
The Nantucket pumpkin occurs in various forms under this name, but the form referred to, specimens of which have been examined, belongs to Cucurbita pepo Cogn., and is of an oblong form, swollen in the middle and indistinctly ribbed. It is covered more or less completely with warty protuberances and is of a greenish-black color when ripe, becoming mellowed toward orange in spots by keeping. It seems closely allied to the courge sucriere du Bresil of Vilmorin. It is not the Cucurbita verrucosa of Dalechamp, 1587, nor of J. Bauhin, 1651, as in these figures the leaves are represented as entire and the fruit as melonformed and ribbed.
In 1884, there appeared in our seedmen's catalogs, under the name of Tennessee Sweet Potato pumpkin, a variety very distinct, of medium size, pear-shape, little ribbed, creamy-white, striped with green, and the stem swollen and fleshy. Of its history nothing has been ascertained, but it bears a strong likeness in shape to a tracing of a piece of "pumpkin pottery" exhumed from the western mounds. In Lobel's history, 1576, and in his plates, 1591, appear figures of a plant which in both leaf and fruit represents fairly well our variety. These figures are of interest as being the only ones yet found in the ancient botanies which represent a fruit with a swollen, herbaceous stem. The following is the synonymy:
- Pepo oblongus vulgatissimus. Lob. Obs. 365. 1576.
- Pepo oblongus. Lobel Icon. i: 641. 1591.
- Tennessee Sweet Potato Pumpkin.
Numerous series of pumpkins are listed in the catalogs of our seedsmen and some of a form quite distinct from those here noticed but not as yet sufficiently studied to be classified. However, much may yet be learned through the examination of complete sets of varieties within each of the three described species of cucurbita which furnish fruits for consumption. Notwithstanding the ready crossings which are so apt to occur within the ascribed species, there yet seems to exist a permanency of types which is simply marvellous, and which would seem to lend countenance to the belief that there is need of revision of the species and a closer study of the various groups or types which appear to have remained constant during centuries of cultivation. If we consider the stability of types and the record of variations that appear in cultivated plants, and the additional fact that, so far as determined, the originals of cultivated types have their prototype in nature and are not the products of culture, it seems reasonable to suppose that the record of the appearance of types will throw light upon the country of their origin. From this standpoint, we may, hence, conclude that, as the present types have all been recorded in the Old World since the fifteenth century and were not recorded before the fourteenth, there must be a connection between the time of the discovery of America and the time of the appearance of pumpkins and squashes in Europe.
The word, gourd, is believed to be derived from the Latin cucurbita, but it takes on various forms in the various European languages. It is spelled " gowrde " by Turner, ^S; "gourde" by Lobel, 1576; and "gourd" by Lyte, 1586. In France, it is given as courgen and cohurden by Ruellius, 1536, but appears in its present form, courge, in Pinaeus, 1561. Dalechamp used coucourde, 1587, a name which now appears as cougourde in Vilmorin. The Belgian name appears as cauwoord in Lyte, 1586; and the Spanish name, calabassa, with a slight change of spelling, has remained constant from 1561 to 1864, as has the zucca of the Italians and the kurbs of the Germans.
The gourd belonging to Lagenaria vulgaris is but rarely cultivated in the United States except as an ornamental plant and as such shares a place with the small, hard-shelled cucurbita which are known as fancy gourds. In some localities, however, under the name of Sugar Trough gourd, a lagenaria is grown for the use of the shell of the fruit as a pail. What is worthy of note is the fact that this type of fruit does not appear in the drawings of the botanists of the early period, nor in the seed catalogs of Europe at the present time. In the Tupi Dictionary of Father Ruiz de Montaga, 1639, among the gourd names are "iacvi-gourd, like a great dish or bowl," which may mean this form. When we examine descriptions, this gourd may perhaps be recognized in Columella's account, "Sive globosi cor ports, atque utero minumum quae vasta tumescit," and used for storing pitch or honey; yet a reference to his prose description rather contradicts the conjecture and leads us to believe that he describes only the necked form, and this form seems to have been known only to Palladius. Pliny describes two kinds, the one climbing, the other trailing. Walafridus Strabo, in the ninth century, seems to describe the plebeia of Pliny as a cucurbita and the cameraria as a pepo. The former, apparently, was a necked form and the latter, one in which the neck has mostly disappeared leaving an oval fruit. Albertus Magnus, in the thirteenth century, describes the cucurbita as bearing its seed "in vase magno," which implies the necked form. The following types are illustrated by the various herbalists:
- Cucurbita oblonga. Fuch. 370. 1542.
- Cucurbita plebeia. Roeszl. 115. 1550.
- Cucurbita. Trag. 824. 1552.
- Curcubita longa. Cardan. 222. 1556.
- Cucurbita. Matth. 261. 1558; Pinaeus 190. 1561; Cam. Epit. 292. 1586.
- Cucurbita sive zuccha, omnium maxima anguina. Lob. Obs. 366. 1576; Icon. 1:644. 1591.
- Cucurbita camerararia longa. Dalechamp 1:615. 1587.
- Cucurbita anguina. Ger. 777. 1597.
- Cucurbita oblonga. Matth. 392. 1598.
- Cucurbita longior. Dod. 1616. Zucca. Dur., C. 488. 1617.
- Cucurbita anguina longa. Bodaeus 784. 1644.
- Cucurbita longa, folio molli, flore albo. Bauh., J. 2:214. 1651; Chabr. 129. 1673.
- Courge massue tres longue. Vilm. 190. 1883.
- Club Gourd.
- — Ruellius frontispiece 1536.
- Cucurbita minor. Fuch. 369. 1542.
- Cucurbita. Trag. 824. 1552; Matth. 261. 1558; Cam. Epit. 292. 1586.
- Cucurbita marina. Cardan. 222. 1556.
- Cucurbita cameraria. Dalechamp 1:615. 1587.
- Cucurbita lagenaria sylvestris. Ger. 779. 1597.
- Cucurbita prior. Dod. 668. 1616.
- Zucca. Dur., C. 488. 1617.
- Courge pelerine. Vilm. 191. 1883.
- Bottle Gourd.
- Cucurbita calebasse. Tourn. 7.36. 1719.
- Courge siphon. Vilm. 190. 1883.
- Dipper Gourd.
- Cucurbita major. Fuch. 368. 1542.
- Cucurbita cameraria. Roeszl. 115. 1550.
- Cucurbita. Trag. 824. 1552; Matth. 261. 1558.
- Cucurbita cameraria major. Dalechamp 1:616. 1587.
- Cucurbita lagenaria. Ger. 777. 1597.
- Cucurbita major sessilis. Matth. 393. 1598.
- Cucurbita lagenaria rotunda. Bodaeus 784. 1644.
- Cucurbita latior, folio molli, flore albo. Bauh. J. 1:215. 1651; Chabr. 129. 1673.
- Sugar Trough Gourd. V.
- Cucurbita. Matth. 261. 1558; Dalechamp 1:615. 1587.
- Courge plate de corse. Vilm. 191. 1883.
This classification, it is to be remarked, is not intended for exact synonymy but to represent the like types of fruit-form. Within these classes there is a wide variation in size and proportion. Whether the lagenaria gourds existed in the New World before the discovery by Columbus, as great an investigator as Grayl considers worthy of examination, and quoted Oviedo for the period about 1526 as noting the long and round or banded and all the other shapes they usually have in Spain, as being much used in the West Indies and the mainland for carrying water. He indicates that there are varieties of spontaneous growth as well as those under cultivation. The occurrence, however, of the so-called fancy gourds of Cucurbita pepo, of hard rind, of gourd shape, and often of gourd bitterness, render difficult the identification of species through the uses. The Relation of the Voyage of Amerigo Vespucci 1489, mentions the Indians of Trinidad and of the coast of Paris as carrying about their necks small, dried gourds filled with the plant they are accustomed to chew, or with a certain whitish flour; but this record could as well have been made from the Cucurbita pepo gourds as from the lagenaria gourds. The further mention that each woman carried a cucurbita containing water might seem to refer to gourds.
Acosta speaks of the Indians of Peru making floats of gourds, for swimming, and says, "there are a thousand kinds of Calebasses; some are so deformed in their bigness that of the rind cut in the midst and cleansed, they make as it were, baskets to put in all their meat, for their dinner; of the lesser, they make vessels to eat and drink in." Bodaeus' quotation in Latin, reads differently in a free translation: "They grow in the province of Chile to a wonderful size, and are called capallas. They are of an indefinite number of kinds; some are monstrous in their immense size, and when cut open and cleaned, furnish various vessels. Of the smaller they most ingeniously make cups and saucers." In 1624, Bodaeus received from the West Indies some seed which bore fruit "Quae kumanum crassitudinem et longitudinem superaret," which fully justifies Acosta's idea of size. The Anonymous Portugal of Brasil says: "Some pompions so big that they can use them for vessels to carry water, and they hold two pecks or more." Baro, 1647, also speaks of "Courges et calebasses si grandes et profondes qu'elles servent comme de magazin," and Laet mentions "Pepones tam vastae, ut Indigenae iis utantur pro vasis quibus aquam aggerunt." These largesized gourds were not, however, confined to America. Bodaeus, as we have noted, grew fruits deformed in their bigness, to use Acosta's term, from West Indian seed, and Cardanus says he has seen gourds (he gives a figure which is a gourd) weighing 80 and 122 pounds. Bauhin records the club gourd as sometimes three feet long; Ray,6 as five or six feet long; and Forskal, the bottle gourd as 18 inches in diameter. These records of size are all, however, of a date following the discovery of America, and the seed of these large varieties might have come from American sources, as is recorded in one case by Bodaeus. The lagenaria gourd is of Old World origin, for water-flasks of the lagenaria have been found in Egyptian tombs of the twelfth dynasty, or 2200 or 2400 years B. C., and they are described by the ancient writers. That the gourd reached America at an early period, perhaps preceding the discovery, we cannot doubt for Marcgravius notes a cucurbit with a white flower and of lagenarian form, in Brazil in 1648; but there is not sufficient evidence to establish its appearance in America before brought by the colonists. What the "calabazas" were which served for water-vessels, and were apparently of considerable size, cannot at present be surmised. It is possible that there are varieties of Cucurbita pepo not yet introduced to notice that would answer the conditions. It is also less possible that gourd-shaped clay vessels might have been used and were recorded by not over-careful narrators as gourds. In 1595, Mendana, on his voyage to the Solomon Islands, said "Spanish pumpkins" at the islands of Dominica and Santa Cruz, or according to another translation, "pumpkins of Castile." It would seem by this reference that, whether the "calabaza" of the original Spanish referred to gourds or pumpkins, it did not take many years for this noticeable class of fruits to receive a wide distribution, and it might further imply that Mendana, setting forth from the western coast of America, discriminated between the American pumpkin, or pumpkin proper, and the Spanish pumpkin or gourd.