MAILBAG: Why do some pumpkins have warts?

Kristina of Spring Lake asked, "Why are some pumpkins and gourds covered with bumps and warts?"
Mark Brooky
Nov 1, 2012



Some of them are gross and some are pretty cool. But why are they there?

Remy Melina wrote for the Life's Little Mysteries website that the warts do no indicate
some kind of hideously disfiguring disease. She said pumpkins with warts have been genetically engineered to look that way.

According to Roy Pearman, director of sales and marketing for Holland-based Siegers Seed Co., it takes at least 10 generations of cross-breeding to produce a pumpkin that's adequately covered in warts to be sold under the company's Super Freak label. Pearman said his company "puts the genetics together" to create seeds for the bumpy, wart-covered pumpkins and gourds.

"These wart characteristics have always been around, but we're the only ones to have bred them to cover large areas of the pumpkins," Pearman told Life's Little Mysteries.

However, a story on the state of Tennessee website,, explains that warts on pumpkins are caused by a virus. They say the virus doesn’t cause any harm to the quality of the fruit — "it’s just a matter of taste whether you think warts on a pumpkin add character or not."

Others say it's caused by a high sugar contact that cracks or erupts the skin.

In her online Kitchen's Lane blog, Nancy Blaggett said "the smooth, unblemished skin that used to be deriguer for aspiring top models is passe. Lumps, bumps and wrinkles are prized for lending character. Warts are in, the more the better!"

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Tri-cities realist

I wonder what the MSU Extension would have said about this question. And while I can understand that they may not be as responsive as in the past, I'm left wondering... was there any "old school" journalism here, or is that profession reduced to surfing the web for answers? It seems that is the case. The 3rd paragraph of the answer leads one to believe Mr. Pearman was actually interviewed. However the 4th paragraph cites his quote from a website. Hmm... make you wonder. And after a quick Google search, it is evident that the answer was found on the first few hits, try it for yourself!


because a Toad peed on them.


Tri-cities realist is correct. This article was not researched at all, other than doing some web checking. No one from Siegers Seed Company was recently interviewed for this GH Tribune article. If they would have called Siegers Seed Company, they would have found that Roy Pearman no longer works at Siegers, and hasn't for over 2 years, and the quote from Pearman is older than that article in Life's Little Mysteries, probabaly 6 or 7 years old. So, they took it from the original source as well. You could have gotten a real good interview from one of several knowledgeable employees still working with the company. In fact, I'm know you still could. However, Roy is correct. It is basically a genetic flaw picked out of a particular variety, then the gene is cross bred/pollinated with other pumpkins until you have the desired amount of warts, and you can also breed for size/shape (just like any other hybrid pumpkin/vegetable). Just to clarify, the picture accompanying this article is not from the Superfreak Series, this rather is a picture of Galeuse D'eysines (a.k.a Peanut). Same genetic principles apply, but not as cool as Super Freaks. My suggestion if you'd like to know the reason why something is the way it is, don't ask your local newspaper. Since you're probalby on the internet already, look some of these companies up and call or email them yourself. You'll likely be greeted by friendly people who would really like to tell you about and promote their products.


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