In North America, pumpkins (Cucurbita spp.) are almost exclusively thought of as Halloween adornments or a key pie ingredient. However, they have been grown around the world for various purposes for centuries. A nutritious food source, culinary pumpkin fruit are rich in potassium, fiber, and carotenes. As a common Halloween symbol, pumpkins bring economic prosperity to commercial pumpkin growers, rural farmers, and innumerable gardeners throughout the fall months (Robinson and Decker-Walters, 1997).
Most pumpkins belong systematically to Cucurbita pepo L., C. maxima Duch., C. moschata Duch., and C. argyrosperma C. Huber. They are markedly diverse in fruit shape, size, and color (Esteras et al., 2012; Merrick, 1990; Paris, 1996; Whitaker and Robinson, 1986). Pumpkins range in size from a few hundred grams to more than 500 kg, and vary in shape with round, globular, tall, oval, and flat forms. Orange is the most common mature color, but pumpkins come in orange, brown, yellow, white, green, red, blue, mottled, striped, and black (Goldman and Schrager, 2004; Paris, 2009; Smith, 2018). For elite pumpkin cultivars developed for cucurbit growers, the seed industry, and consumers, most breeding efforts of Hollar Seeds research have been for specific desirable traits such as good fruit appearance (size, color, shape, smoothness), thick handles, good growth habit, high yield, high flesh quality, and resistance to powdery mildew (Podoshaera xanthii, Golovinomyces cucurbitacearum) (Zhang, 2012, 2013; Zhang et al., 2012).
Reported here are four new pumpkin hybrids of C. pepo—‘Spark’, ‘Flame’, ‘Blaze’, and ‘Fury’—with intensive yellow and orange reverse-striping color patterns. All four hybrids have powdery mildew resistance (PMR). ‘Spark’ and ‘Flame’ are miniature pumpkins developed for dual-purpose use as decoration and consumption; ‘Blaze’ and ‘Fury’ were created as small and large Halloween pumpkins, respectively, for decoration and carving. These cultivars provide pumpkin growers, farmers’ markets, and Halloween fans with more extensive choices.
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