Book VII, Chapter VIII
Of the pumpkins in this island of Hispaniola and in other islands and Mainland.
Translated by Lizabeth Paravisini-Gebert
Pumpkins are very common in the Indies, just as they are in Castile and other parts of Spain (and of the same kind)—long one and round ones, gourd-shaped, and all the usual sorts. The Indians plant them and tend to them with special attention, not to eat them (since they do not eat them), but for bearing and carrying water in them when they are moving from place to place or are at war. At least in the Mainland, in the province of Nicaragua, no Indian steps away without a water gourd, since it is dry there and hardly rains. There are pumpkins in all parts of these Indies and islands and Mainland, and in all other parts I have sought information about, and it is one of the common and ordinary things that the Indians cultivate in their houses plots and vegetable gardens and fields, and they plant a quantity of them every year. And in some places, they are even traded among the Indians, like they do with other crops and vegetables they have, because they do not have the wherewithal to cultivate everything everywhere; thus between the provinces they meet and trade the things some have in excess that others lack. And there are other pumpkins that in all aspects are like the ones described above, except in the flavor, as they are bitter; and there are many of these that grow on their own without being cultivated.
Image: Print of a pumpkin from Illustrations of Himalayan Plants, chiefly selected from drawings made for the late J.F.Cathcart Esq. of the Bengal Civil Service by Sir Joseph Dalton Hooker in 1855.