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Gourd vs. Pumpkin: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Janet White || Updated on September 26, 2023
Gourd is a broad term for hard-shelled fruit from various plants, while pumpkin refers specifically to a type of round, orange squash.

Key Differences

Gourd generally refers to the fruit of plants from the family Cucurbitaceae that develop a hard shell when mature. On the contrary, a pumpkin is a particular type of squash and is often orange, used especially during Halloween and Thanksgiving.
Various plants across multiple genera fall under the gourd category, making it a diverse group. In contrast, pumpkins are part of the genus Cucurbita and are notably cultivated for their edible flesh and seeds.
Not all gourds are edible, as some are grown primarily for ornamental purposes or to be crafted into instruments or containers. Pumpkins, however, are widely consumed, whether in pies, soups, or roasted as snacks.
While gourds can have a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors, ranging from elongated to spherical and from green to multi-colored, pumpkins typically have a round shape with a smooth, slightly ribbed skin and deep yellow to orange coloration.
In many cultures, gourds have historical significance and are used in traditional crafts and arts. Meanwhile, pumpkins hold a special place in American culture, especially in autumn festivities and traditions.

Comparison Chart

General Definition

Fruit from various plants with hard shells
A type of round, orange squash


Not all are edible
Typically edible


Ornamental, crafts, containers, instruments
Food, Halloween decorations, pies


Variety of shapes, sizes, colors
Round, orange, slightly ribbed skin

Cultural Significance

Used in many traditional crafts and arts
Central to American autumn festivities

Gourd and Pumpkin Definitions


A term for fruits from the family Cucurbitaceae.
The exhibit displayed various gourds from around the world.


An edible plant from the genus Cucurbita.
The pumpkin patch was teeming with eager children.


A hard-shelled fruit of various plants.
The dried gourd was used as a water container.


A round, orange variety of squash.
She carved a face into the pumpkin for Halloween.


A fruit used in traditional crafts.
He carved the gourd into a beautiful lantern.


A symbol of autumn in America.
Every fall, pumpkin spice lattes become popular.


A plant product used in cultural arts.
The artist painted scenes on gourds, turning them into unique artifacts.


A plant with seeds often roasted as snacks.
They roasted pumpkin seeds for a crunchy treat.


Any of several trailing or climbing cucurbit plants bearing fruits with a hard rind, especially Lagenaria siceraria and a variety of Cucurbita pepo.


A fruit used in pies and soups.
Pumpkin pie is a staple at Thanksgiving.


The fruit of such a plant, sometimes of unusual shape or color.


A round, often large squash with coarse, strongly flavored yellow to orange flesh, numerous seeds, and a moderately hard, usually orange rind.


The dried and hollowed-out shell of one of these fruits, often used as a container or as a decorative object.


Any of several plants producing these fruits, especially varieties of the species Cucurbita pepo, and also varieties of C. maxima and C. moschata.


Any of the trailing or climbing vines producing fruit with a hard rind or shell, from the genera Lagenaria and Cucurbita (in Cucurbitaceae).


A moderate to strong orange.


A hard-shelled fruit from a plant in Lagenaria or Cucurbita.


A domesticated plant, in species Cucurbita pepo, similar in growth pattern, foliage, flower, and fruit to the squash or melon.


The dried and hardened shell of such fruit, made into a drinking vessel, bowl, spoon, or other objects designed for use or decoration.


The round yellow or orange fruit of this plant.


(obsolete) Any of the climbing or trailing plants from the family Cucurbitaceae, which includes watermelon, pumpkins, and cucumbers.


(uncountable) The color of the fruit of the pumpkin plant.


(informal) loaded dice.


(Australia) Any of a number of cultivars from the genus Cucurbita; known in the US as winter squash.


(slang) Head.
I got so stoned last night. I was out of my gourd.


(US) A term of endearment for someone small and cute.


A fleshy, three-celled, many-seeded fruit, as the melon, pumpkin, cucumber, etc., of the order Cucurbitaceæ; and especially the bottle gourd (Lagenaria vulgaris) which occurs in a great variety of forms, and, when the interior part is removed, serves for bottles, dippers, cups, and other dishes.


A well-known trailing plant (Cucurbita pepo) and its fruit, - used for cooking and for feeding stock; a pompion.


A dipper or other vessel made from the shell of a gourd; hence, a drinking vessel; a bottle.


A coarse vine widely cultivated for its non-keeping large pulpy round orange fruit with firm orange skin and numerous seeds; subspecies of Cucurbita pepo include the summer squashes and a few autumn squashes


A false die. See Gord.


Usually large pulpy deep-yellow round fruit of the squash family maturing in late summer or early autumn


A silver dollar; - so called in Cuba, Haiti, etc.


Bottle made from the dried shell of a bottle gourd


Any of numerous inedible fruits with hard rinds


Any vine of the family Cucurbitaceae that bears fruits with hard rinds


An ornamental fruit with diverse shapes.
She decorated her porch with colorful gourds.


Can all gourds be eaten?

No, not all gourds are edible.

What is a common use of pumpkins in America during October?

Pumpkins are commonly carved into jack-o'-lanterns for Halloween in October.

Are gourds used for crafts?

Yes, gourds are often used in crafts, especially after they're dried.

Are pumpkins fruits or vegetables?

Botanically speaking, pumpkins are fruits because they contain seeds, but they're often treated as vegetables in cooking.

Is pumpkin a type of gourd?

Yes, pumpkin is a type of gourd.

Do pumpkins always have to be orange?

While pumpkins are commonly orange, they can also be white, green, or other colors.

Can gourds be used as instruments?

Yes, in many cultures, dried gourds are used to make musical instruments.

Do gourds have a special significance in any culture?

Yes, gourds hold special significance in various cultures and are used in traditional crafts and arts.

How is the texture of a gourd's shell when it matures?

A gourd's shell becomes hard when it matures.

What family do gourds belong to?

Gourds belong to the family Cucurbitaceae.

What's the most famous dish made from pumpkins?

Pumpkin pie is perhaps the most famous dish made from pumpkins.

Are pumpkins and gourds grown in similar conditions?

Yes, both pumpkins and gourds prefer well-draining soil and full sun.

Can you roast pumpkin seeds?

Yes, pumpkin seeds can be roasted and eaten as a snack.

What is the connection between pumpkins and Thanksgiving?

Pumpkins, especially as pies, are a traditional dish during the American Thanksgiving celebration.

Are all pumpkins round?

While pumpkins are typically round, they can vary in shape.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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