Summer squash (Cucurbita pepo L.) is grown in many temperate and subtropical regions, ranking high in economic importance among vegetable crops worldwide. A native of North America, summer squash has been grown in Europe since the Renaissance. There are six extant horticultural groups of summer squash: cocozelle, crookneck, scallop, straightneck, vegetable marrow, and zucchini. Most of these groups have existed for hundreds of years. Their differing fruit shapes result in their differential adaptations to various methods of culinary preparation. Differences in flavor, while often subtle, are readily apparent in some instances. The groups differ in geographical distribution and economic importance. The zucchini group, a relatively recent development, has undergone intensive breeding in the United States and Europe and is probably by far the most widely grown and economically important of the summer squash.
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