If you cut open a pumpkin, the seeds are suspended inside the pumpkin by some fibrous, slimey strands. You can see them in the middle of this sliced-open pumpkin:

Image of inside of a pumpkin

I'm writing a post for the Cooking.SE blog, and am trying to find out the proper botanical term. Someone suggested that might be called the endocarp, but I want to make sure and also see if there is a more specific term.


In "Morpho-Physiological Aspects of Productivity and Quality in Squash and Pumpkins (Cucurbita spp.)" §C.1, I see this:

In the central portion of the fruit, a mass of tough fibers, together with vascular strands connected to the seeds, comprise the placental tissue. The endocarp is made up of small, thin-walled cells that form a membranous tissue that adheres to seed, becoming a transparent skin on dried seeds. (emphasis added)

Am I reading correctly that the name for this part of the pumpkin is "placental tissue", and that the endocarp is just a thin layer on the seeds themselves?

  • $\begingroup$ I have also found some sources that suggested this is the placenta, but couldn't find a good example like a figure with an arrow pointing to that and saying "placenta". Googling "pumpkin placenta" gives bubkes. $\endgroup$ – Bitwise Oct 25 '12 at 23:46
  • $\begingroup$ @Bitwise if you try "fruit placental tissue", you get more results... I think pumpkins are fruit from a botanical standpoint, right? $\endgroup$ – derobert Oct 26 '12 at 6:25
  • $\begingroup$ They are indeed berries. $\endgroup$ – Eekhoorn Oct 26 '12 at 15:51

This part of the fruit is called "Endocarp". It does not become more specific as that, as far as I know.


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  • $\begingroup$ From the article I quoted in the edit, it sounds like the endocarp is actually the thin film directly attached to the seed, not the fibrous stuff around it. Am I reading the article incorrectly? $\endgroup$ – derobert Oct 26 '12 at 16:01
  • $\begingroup$ According to this site, the stringy bits inside a pumpkin is called the endocarp ( cls.zju.edu.cn/sub/fulab/plant_Antomy/plant/fruit/index.html ) $\endgroup$ – user560 Nov 1 '12 at 3:14
  • $\begingroup$ @leonardo Where do you see that on the site? I can't find pumpkins mentioned anywhere. Wikipedia lets me know pumpkins are berries, and that site describes the mesocarp and endocarp as the "fleshy or juicy tissue", so that sounds like the part of the pumpkin you eat... $\endgroup$ – derobert Nov 1 '12 at 15:17
  • $\begingroup$ I was looking at squash in general. $\endgroup$ – user560 Nov 1 '12 at 17:21
  • $\begingroup$ Also, Wikipedia would inform you that pumpkins are indeed squash (not berries). $\endgroup$ – user560 Nov 1 '12 at 17:43

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