Tennessee Sweet Potato Pumpkin
Cucurbita argyrosperma Callicarpa Group
95 days — A very old pumpkin / squash variety. Back when this was a new release, pumpkins were for eating. These do not look like what we would consider a "pumpkin" in this Jack-O-Lantern day and age. The fruit are pear-shaped with creamy, white color skin that is striped in faint green. It is an excellent keeper; if stored properly it can last over six months. The flesh is light colored, fine grained, very dry and resembles sweet potatoes in flavor. Makes an excellent pie. Fruit average ten to twenty pounds in weight.
It is said to have first been listed in 1847 by New York seedsman Grant Thorburn as 'Green Striped Bell' and then, most likely re-named by W. Atlee Burpee
to 'Tennessee Sweet Potato'. Other synonyms used over the years include, 'Genesee Sweet Potato', 'Virginia Sweet Potato', and simply, 'Sweet Potato'. Whether it was simply renamed or possibly a selection of the original, this is what Burpee had to say in 1883 and it still holds true today:
"Grows to medium size, pear-shaped, a little ribbed, color creamy white, sometimes lightly striped with green, flesh thick, creamy white, remarkably fine grained, dry and brittle, and of most excellent flavor. Hardy, very productive, and keeps perfectly sound until late in the spring, longer than any other pumpkin. It speedily becomes a general favorite wherever it has been introduced. Has no equal for making pies and custards. When cooked it has somewhat the appearance of sweet potatoes, but of more delicious taste. It proves very distinct and fixed, and is a valuable acquisition. This variety we recommend as being superior to any other variety of pumpkin for cooking purposes in cultivation. Its attractive appearance makes it a specially valuable kind for the market gardener. Our stock of this variety is grown with special care, and cannot fail to give satisfaction to our patrons, but the seed being very scarce, we can sell it only in packets. Do not confound the Tennessee Sweet Potato Pumpkin with any other so-called Sweet Potato Pumpkin."
Our original seed sample was sent to us by David Pendergrass
in Middle Tennessee, whose seed originated from USDA accession number NSL 5197. Rare and in limited supply. Each packet contains two grams, which is approximately 10 to 15 seeds.