Appalachia’s Indigenous Pumpkin

— Written By and last updated by
en Español / em Português

El inglés es el idioma de control de esta página. En la medida en que haya algún conflicto entre la traducción al inglés y la traducción, el inglés prevalece.

Al hacer clic en el enlace de traducción se activa un servicio de traducción gratuito para convertir la página al español. Al igual que con cualquier traducción por Internet, la conversión no es sensible al contexto y puede que no traduzca el texto en su significado original. NC State Extension no garantiza la exactitud del texto traducido. Por favor, tenga en cuenta que algunas aplicaciones y/o servicios pueden no funcionar como se espera cuando se traducen.


Inglês é o idioma de controle desta página. Na medida que haja algum conflito entre o texto original em Inglês e a tradução, o Inglês prevalece.

Ao clicar no link de tradução, um serviço gratuito de tradução será ativado para converter a página para o Português. Como em qualquer tradução pela internet, a conversão não é sensivel ao contexto e pode não ocorrer a tradução para o significado orginal. O serviço de Extensão da Carolina do Norte (NC State Extension) não garante a exatidão do texto traduzido. Por favor, observe que algumas funções ou serviços podem não funcionar como esperado após a tradução.


English is the controlling language of this page. To the extent there is any conflict between the English text and the translation, English controls.

Clicking on the translation link activates a free translation service to convert the page to Spanish. As with any Internet translation, the conversion is not context-sensitive and may not translate the text to its original meaning. NC State Extension does not guarantee the accuracy of the translated text. Please note that some applications and/or services may not function as expected when translated.

Collapse ▲

I first read about Cherokee Tan pumpkins a few years ago; a variety of pumpkin grown by Cherokee Indians years before other pumpkin varieties were available in the mountains of Western North Carolina or even other areas of Appalachia. Although not truly native to North America, Cherokee Tan is a variety of pumpkin that is thought to have originated somewhere between central and South America.

In the family known as crookneck pumpkins(Curcurbita moschata), Cherokee Tan gives the appearance of an ornamental, with its small size and weight range; somewhere between 3 – 4 lbs. on average. However, with its bright, orange flesh and delicate aroma, one quickly figures out that this is an excellent pie pumpkin.

Also known for its excellent resistance to disease and insect pressure, Cherokee Tan has excellent heat resistance, stores well and is a prolific producer; often having 10-15 pumpkins per vine. In addition, its small size makes it easy to process, whether done in the oven or peeled and cooked on the stovetop.

When planting this variety, it’s usually best to start from seed, however, transplants can be used if you can find them. Seed can be planted about every 12” in the row and thinned to every 2’ once the plants emerge. Make sure to give plants ample space to run, as they will take up quite a bit of garden space.

Cherokee Tan pumpkins are harvested in the fall and require an average of 110 days to mature. Once mature, pumpkins can be harvested when they turn tan in color and the vines die back. Remove the pumpkins from the vines with a sharp knife or set of pruning shears. Once pumpkins are harvested, place them in a dry place in the sun for about two weeks to cure. It’s a good idea to store them off the ground, as the dampness from the ground may cause some pumpkins to rot during the curing process.

If you have further questions regarding Cherokee Tan pumpkins or other pumpkin varieties, please stop by or give us a call here at the Graham County Extension Center (828) 479-7979.

Cherokee Tan pumpkins gathered in field