Did you know that the pumpkins we decorate to celebrate Halloween trace their early origins to pre-Hispanic Mexico? A crop that dates back more than 7,500 years, the earliest pumpkins were much smaller and tougher than the plump orange pumpkins we recognize as iconic symbols of fall today. These ancient pumpkins were an important staple of the historic Mexican diet and the ancestors to contemporary calabaza that brings bright color and taste to much of the Mexican cuisine. Read more about Mexican calabaza and the origin of pumpkin in this BBC article.
Now when you see a Halloween pumpkin you can think fondly of its Mexican roots!
To learn more about the many forms of life native to the Mexican Sky Island region, visit our Species Gallery.
Source: Pumpkin’s Surprising Origin by Laura Reilly, BBC.com (28 December 2015)