—squasher, n./skwosh, skwawsh/, v.t.1. to press into a flat mass or pulp; crush: She squashed the flower under her heel.2. to suppress or put down; quash.3. to silence or disconcert (someone), as with a crushing retort or emotional or psychological pressure.4. to press forcibly against or cram into a small space; squeeze.v.i.5. to be pressed into a flat mass or pulp.6. (of a soft, heavy body) to fall heavily.7. to make a splashing sound; splash.8. to be capable of being or likely to be squashed: Tomatoes squash easily.9. to squeeze or crowd; crush.n.10. the act or sound of squashing.11. the fact of squashing or of being squashed.12. something squashed or crushed.13. something soft and easily crushed.14. Also called squash racquets. a game for two or four persons, similar to racquets but played on a smaller court and with a racket having a round head and a long handle. See illus. under racket2.15. Also called squash tennis. a game for two persons, resembling squash racquets except that the ball is larger and livelier and the racket is shaped like a tennis racket.16. Brit. a beverage made from fruit juice and soda water: lemon squash.[1555-65; < MF esquasser < VL *exquassare. See EX-1, QUASH]Syn. 2, 3. quell, crush, repress.squash21. the fruit of any of various vinelike, tendril-bearing plants belonging to the genus Curcurbita, of the gourd family, as C. moschata or C. pepo, used as a vegetable.2. any of these plants.
* * *IAny of various fruits of the genus Cucurbita in the gourd family, widely cultivated as vegetables and for livestock feed.The principal species are C. maxima and certain varieties of C. pepo. Summer squash is a quick-growing, small-fruited, nontrailing or bush type of C. pepo. Diverse in form, colour, and surface texture, the fruits do not store well and must be used soon after harvest (see zucchini). Winter varieties of squash, C. maxima, are long-vining, generally large-fruited, long-season types. Harvested fruits, in a wide range of sizes, shapes, and colours, can be stored many months if kept dry and well above freezing. The rinds are harder than those of summer squash and usually inedible. Examples include acorn squash and pumpkin. Native to the Americas, squash was widely cultivated by American Indians before Europeans arrived.II(as used in expressions)
* * *▪ 2009Egypt was at the centre of the squash world in 2008, both as a venue and as the home of several top players. At the men's world open squash championship in Manchester, Eng., in October, the outcome was an inaugural title for Ramy Ashour, who defeated fellow Egyptian, and defending champion, Amr Shabana in the semifinal before holding off another countryman, Karim Darwish in the final. At the British Open in May, Darwish lost in the semifinals to eventual champion David Palmer of Australia. Mohamed El Shorbagy of Egypt beat Pakistan's Aamir Atlas Khan at the junior men's world championship in Zürich in August, but Pakistan turned the tables as it took the team title with a win over Egypt in the final.For the first time, the women's world open championship was held simultaneously with the men's and at the same venue. World number one Nicol David of Malaysia won the women's crown for the third time, beating surprising finalist Vicky Botwright of England. David went unbeaten in Women's International Squash Players Association Tour events in 2008, amassing 10 titles, including the British Open. During October 2007–November 2008 she won 53 consecutive matches, to which she added another 6 at the women's world team championship in Cairo, where Malaysia finished third. The title went to second seed Egypt, which beat top-seed England in a pulsating three-match final on December 6. The women's matches used “point-a-rally” scoring as women's international squash began to use the system already used in the men's game.The backdrop to the competitive activity was the campaign to add squash to the 2016 Olympic Games program. International Olympic Committee (IOC) inspectors were in attendance at the world opens, and representatives of the sport presented its credentials at the IOC Program Commission meeting in November. The final vote on squash and six other candidate sports would take place at the IOC Congress in October 2009.Andrew Shelley▪ 2008In 2007 Egyptian Amr Shabana not only retained his Professional Squash Association (PSA) world number one status for the full year (despite having his younger countryman Ramy Ashour breathing down his neck) but also won his third PSA World Open title, defeating Frenchman Gregory Gaultier 11–7, 11–4, 11–6 in the final, held on December 1 in Bermuda. By year's end the left-handed Shabana had completed 21 unbroken months as world number one. Number two-ranked Ashour, age 20, threatened to topple Shabana, but an ankle injury sidelined him for the last three months of the year. Meanwhile, Gaultier had the consolation of consolidating his number three ranking and of becoming the first French winner of the British Open, beating Thierry Lincou in an all-French final in September.Both Shabana and Gaultier were feeling the effects of an intense PSA Tour and faltered at the world men's team championship in Chennai (Madras), India, in December. This left the field clear for Australia and defending champion England to reach the final, with England retaining the title when Peter Barker beat Cameron Pilley in the deciding match.It was expected that Nicol David of Malaysia would retain her dominant position at the top of the women's game, but while the 24-year-old David kept the top spot in the Women's International Squash Players Association world rankings, she stumbled in two major championships. In the British Open final she squandered a fourth-game match ball before losing to former number one Rachael Grinham of Australia. When David lost in the second round of the World Open in Madrid, Grinham took advantage of the opportunity to win her first World Open title, defeating her younger sister Natalie in the final. In the world junior women's championships, played in Hong Kong, Egypt bested Malaysia in the team final after Egyptian Raneem El Weleily had beaten Camille Serme of France to retain her individual title.Andrew Shelley▪ 2007Two major squash stars bade their farewells during 2006. Flamboyant Canadian Jonathon Power retired in March just two days after regaining the world number one ranking and shortly before the Commonwealth Games began in Melbourne. Power's great rival Peter Nicol also retired, using the World Open in September as his final event. Nicol, who changed his allegiance from Scotland to England during his career, saved what might go down as his most monumental effort until his final season. At the Commonwealth Games, he looked beaten in the final, having been run ragged by Australian David Palmer, but he recovered to win the singles gold in a 109-minute match. The highlight of the men's year was the World Open, staged in Egypt in front of the Pyramids of Giza. Palmer saved five match balls in a dramatic fourth game before defeating Frenchman Gregory Gaultier in a memorable 103-minute final.Australian Natalie Grinham came away from Melbourne as the biggest winner, taking an unprecedented three gold medals—in the women's singles, women's doubles (with her sister, Rachael), and mixed doubles (with Joseph Kneipp). Grinham beat defending world champion Nicol David in the semifinals, but the 23-year-old Malaysian dominated the rest of the year. David regained the top spot in the women's world rankings in August, after having lost it in April, and won the last six titles she competed for, including the British Open and the women's World Open, where she came from behind to top Grinham in a marathon 95-minute final.At the Asian Games, held in December in Doha, Qatar, David rounded off her dominant year, beating Hong Kong's Rebecca Chiu for the gold. In an all-Malaysian men's final, Ong Beng Hee defeated Mohamad Azlan Iskandar.England captured the women's world team title in Edmonton, Alta., beating Egypt in the final. Australia, bereft of the Grinham sisters, could finish only in 10th place.Andrew Shelley▪ 2006The highs and lows of the squash world were not confined to the court during 2005. After the 2004 Athens Olympics, squash had appeared on the short list of five sports vying for entry into the program for 2012 were any sports to be dropped. At the International Olympic Committee meeting in July 2005 in Singapore, the IOC delegates decided that baseball and softball would be eliminated but no new sports would be added. (See Sidebar (World Games and the Quest for Olympic Status ).)In the Professional Squash Association men's tour, Frenchman Thierry Lincou took over the top ranking at the beginning of 2005 and—despite notching up only one title, the Pakistan Open—retained it for the entire year. Australian Anthony Ricketts returned to form after knee surgery and won the Tournament of Champions in New York City in February and the British Open title in October. Former world champion Jonathon Power of Canada showed a strong resurgence and captured five titles. England's Peter Nicol, another former world titleholder, won two events, and the other top English players, Lee Beachill and James Willstrop, secured the U.S. Open crown and the Qatar Classic, respectively.At the World Open, held in Hong Kong in December, Egyptian left-hander Amr Shabana won the event for the second time. The majority of players then decamped to Islamabad, Pak., for the men's world team championship. The top two seeds, England and Egypt, contested the final, with England coming out on top to regain the trophy that it had last held in 1997.The Women's International Squash Players Association Tour saw the balance of power shifting during the year. Australian Rachael Grinham lost the number one spot to Dutch player Vanessa Atkinson, who won the Qatar Classic at the end of November. Malaysian Nicol David, however, stole the limelight by taking six tour titles, including the British Open, before becoming the first Asian woman to win the World Open, beating Grinham in the final in Hong Kong in December. This win took David into the number one spot going into 2006.Andrew Shelley▪ 2005When it was announced after the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens that squash was being considered for the Games program in 2012, a sense of optimism took hold that the sport might finally become an Olympic event. A decision was expected in July 2005. The other major news in 2004 was the crowning of two new champions in December. In Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 28-year-old Vanessa Atkinson of The Netherlands reached her first World Open final, beating world number one Rachael Grinham of Australia in the semifinals. In the final Atkinson triumphed over Rachael's younger sister, Natalie Grinham, who was fatigued after having needed five games and 87 minutes to beat Malaysia's Nicol David in a memorable semifinal. Atkinson ended the year at number two, her highest ranking. Frenchman Thierry Lincou, aged 28 and hailing from the Indian Ocean island of Réunion, had reached the men's World Open final in 2003, but at the 2004 event in Doha, Qatar, he went one better with an exciting 83-minute win over top-seeded Lee Beachill of England. Lincou, who was taken to five games in both the quarterfinals and the semifinals, became the first French competitor to capture the crown. The Professional Squash Association, the men's player organization, had introduced 11-point games (down from 15 points) in August, and the Open became the first men's world title to use the new scoring.Three other world championships were staged in 2004. The men's world junior championship was held in Islamabad, Pak. Egyptian Rami Ashour beat Yasir Butt from the host nation to take the individual title, and Pakistan bested Egypt to retain the team trophy. In Amsterdam at the women's team championship, Australia, led by the Grinham sisters, defended its title by defeating England in the final. At the world doubles championship in Chennai (Madras), India, British Open winners Rachael Grinham and David Palmer of Australia won the mixed doubles event, and the Grinham sisters captured the women's title. In the men's championship, Byron Davis and Cameron White completed the Australian sweep.Andrew Shelley▪ 2004At the start of 2003, Australian five-time world champion Sarah Fitz-Gerald (see Biographies (Fitz-Gerald, Sarah )) retired from the Women's International Squash Players Association (WISPA) Tour, leaving the field clear for New Zealander Carol Owens. For the first half of the season, Owens was unbeaten. She collected six WISPA titles, including the Grand Prix in Qatar in May, but her preeminence was not to last. Australian Rachael Grinham beat Owens in the quarterfinals of the British Open before claiming her maiden title with a victory over England's Cassie Jackman in the final. Jackman beat Owens in the final of the U.S. Open, and Natalie Grainger of the U.S. took the prestigious Qatar Classic title in yet another final-match victory over Owens. In mid-December the action moved to Hong Kong, host of the imaginatively staged World Open, which featured final rounds played on an outdoor court set up next to the harbour. Owens was not to be denied this time, taking her second World Open title with a final victory over Jackman.The men's tour was wide open during the year. David Palmer of Australia, the 2002 World Open champion, won the 2003 British Open, beating England's Peter Nicol in the final after Nicol had come back from near defeat against Canadian Jonathon Power in the semifinal. Lee Beachill of England moved through the field to take the Qatar Classic surprisingly ahead of Scotland's John White. At the World Open in Lahore, Pak., in December, all of the top-ranked players went out early, which left Frenchman Thierry Lincou as the favourite to take the title and become world number one. In an upset, Lincou was beaten by ninth seed Amr Shabana of Egypt in the final, but reaching the final was enough to propel Lincou to the top of the world rankings. Australia won the men's world team title in Vienna, beating France in the final after the French had sensationally toppled England in the semifinals.Andrew Shelley▪ 2003With most of the world's top squash players participating at the Commonwealth Games, held on July 25–August 4 in Manchester, Eng., the singles events became something of an unofficial world championships. The men's final saw another duel between the number one and number two players, Peter Nicol of England and Jonathon Power of Canada. Nicol had taken the title four years previously in Malaysia while competing under the Scottish flag, but this time he was dominated by the Canadian in a final in which Nicol appeared tired after an arduous semifinal against David Palmer of Australia. On the women's side another Australian, Sarah Fitz-Gerald, was the favourite to win the singles title—the only title in the women's game to have eluded her. The 33-year-old Fitz-Gerald did not disappoint, beating New Zealander Carol Owens in the final. In doubles competition Owens and Leilani Rorani secured the gold for New Zealand. Rorani also teamed with Glen Wilson to snatch the mixed doubles title, and in men's doubles Nicol made up for his failure in the singles final by winning gold with Lee Beachill.The Commonwealth Games were closely followed by the Pan American championships in Quito, Ecuador. The men's title went to Argentine Jorge Gutiérrez, who beat Eric Gálvez of Mexico in the final. Samantha Teran of Mexico was the women's winner; she took the title by defeating Marnie Baizley of Canada.Next came the Asian Games in Busan, S.Kor., in September and October. Ong Beng Hee of Malaysia topped Mansoor Zaman of Pakistan to win the men's gold, and Rebecca Chiu of Hong Kong upset top-seeded Nicol David of Malaysia for the women's title.It was in late August that word emerged that squash had come tantalizingly close to making the shortlist of three possible Olympic additions for 2008 in Beijing but had missed out yet again despite a concerted campaign and positive signs from within the International Olympic Committee.In November at the Women's World Open in Doha, Qatar, Fitz-Gerald stretched her unbeaten streak into a 13th month and overcame Natalie Pohrer of England in a close final. It was Fitz-Gerald's fifth World Open title. December saw more world titles being contested. In Chennai, India, the previously postponed men's World Junior championship saw an all-English final with James Willstrop beating Peter Barker, but they failed to return home with the team title as England lost to Pakistan in the final. Meanwhile, in his adopted base of Antwerp, Belg., David Palmer won his first World Open title when he beat fellow Australian John White in a five-game final in which he saved two match balls in the fourth game.Andrew Shelley▪ 2002Australian David Palmer started 2001 ranked eighth in the world and ended it as number one. Another Australian, Sarah Fitz-Gerald, began the year by returning to the top 10 and finished at number one.The British Open in June was indicative of how the year would go for the erstwhile top two men, Peter Nicol of Scotland and Canadian Jonathon Power. Both disappeared early in the tournament, and it was left to English veteran Chris Walker to celebrate reaching 34 years of age and reaching the final. There—tired after having played in the qualification rounds—he succumbed to the 24-year-old Palmer.Power struggled as ever with a series of leg and back injuries in 2001, but Nicol's loss of edge emanated from a different quarter. The defending world champion surprised the squash world in February by announcing a change of allegiance from Scotland to England (based on residential qualification) in a bid to benefit from more favourable National Lottery funding. The furor seemed to affect his form, but as the year closed, wins in Cairo and Qatar took Nicol to the brink of regaining the number one spot.After losing in the semifinals of the women's World Open in November 2000, Fitz-Gerald was beaten only once in the next 14 months—by New Zealander Leilani Joyce in the semifinals of the Hong Kong Open in August. In June Fitz-Gerald won the British Open, the only title that had threatened to elude her, and by early October she was back at number one. Later that month she traveled home to Melbourne, where she cruised to victory over Joyce in the final to win her fourth World Open title.Australia beat defending champion Egypt 3–0 in the final of the men's team World Open after the young Egyptian side had swept past Scotland and Canada in earlier rounds. The men's World Open, due to be staged in Mumbai (Bombay), India, in December, was postponed at the beginning of November owing to economic difficulties.Andrew Shelley▪ 2001Squash players worldwide watched the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia, wondering why the sport still had not secured a place on the program, despite lobbying by the World Squash Federation. That disappointment aside, it was a busy and progressive year in squash.The British Open was notable for a panoply of surprises. World number-one-ranked Peter Nicol of Scotland withdrew with a shin injury, seemingly leaving the field clear for Canadian titleholder Jonathon Power, but he and the rest of the top nine seeds contrived early exits. It was left to the 10th seed, 25-year-old Welshman David Evans, to keep his composure and beat Australian Paul Price, seeded 14th, in the final. The top women's seed, Cassie Campion of England, also succumbed tamely, a victim of a dead leg that turned out to be a trapped back nerve. In her absence, the British title went for the second year to New Zealander Leilani Joyce.Joyce was expected to win her first World Open title in Edinburgh in November. She reached match ball comfortably in the final against Australian Carol Owens but squandered the opportunity and amazingly lost the next three games and with them the title. Players from a record-equaling 22 nations then traveled to Sheffield, Eng., where the host nation beat Australia to take the women's team title for the first time since 1990. The men's World Open fell victim to a lack of sponsorship, but a five-year deal was announced that would take future stagings to India.At the junior level the world under-19 men's championships were held in Milan. The individual title went to Kareem Darwish of Egypt, while England snatched the team title from Egypt in an outstanding final.The most significant partnership of the year was the $10 million injection of support for the women's World Grand Prix for eight years. There was also movement toward the worldwide introduction of 6% larger squash balls for all levels of play in 2002.Andrew Shelley▪ 2000In 1999 squash found itself on the shortlist for inclusion in the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens and was still awaiting a decision by the International Olympic Committee as the year drew to a close. On court the year saw new men's and women's world champions.In September the Al-Ahram International Championship, played near the Pyramids of Giza in Cairo, was upgraded to world championship status for the men. Defending champion Jonathon Power of Canada slipped and injured his knee in his semifinal against local star Ahmed Barada and was forced to forfeit; Commonwealth Games champion Peter Nicol won his all-Scottish semifinal with Martin Heath to face Barada in the final. The Egyptian seemed affected by the pressure of the occasion as he went down 3–0, leaving the 26-year-old Nicol with his first world crown—the fourth different winner in as many years. Wales surprisingly beat England in the team semifinals but was unable to stop Egypt, as Barada led the host country to its first men's world team triumph.The women's World Open was played in Seattle, Wash., in October. Titleholder Sarah Fitz-Gerald was sidelined following knee surgery, leaving fellow Australian and world number one Michelle Martin as the strong favourite. At the age of 32, Martin struggled throughout and lost the final in three tight games to Cassie Campion of England. A surprise followed when Martin announced her retirement from the sport that she had dominated for seven years.At the British Open in December, Campion hoped to repeat her World Open win but was outhustled by Leilani Joyce of New Zealand in the four-game final. In the men's event, Power won his first British Open by default when holder Nicol withdrew after only 41 minutes because of severe dehydration.One feature of the year was the introduction of a Hall of Fame to acknowledge the legends of the women's game. The three founder members selected were Janet Shardlow of England, the late champion of the 1950s; Heather McKay of Australia, who reigned unbeaten for 17 years until her retirement in 1977; and New Zealander Susan Devoy, who was dominant for several years until her 1992 retirement.Andrew Shelley▪ 1999As squash continued to press its claims for inclusion in the 2004 Olympic Games, 1998 was notable for the sport's debut at the Commonwealth Games in September. Singles and doubles were on the program in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and the historical strength of the Commonwealth countries meant that the majority of top-flight men and women players were included. The world's top-ranked player, Peter Nicol of Scotland, took the men's gold, beating Canadian Jonathon Power 3-9, 9-2, 9-1, 2-9, 9-2 in the final, while the Australian duo Michelle Martin and Sarah Fitz-Gerald contested the women's title. Martin, edged off the top-ranking spot by Fitz-Gerald since 1996, had carried all before her in early 1998 on her way back to world number one status, gaining her sixth straight British Open in April and overcoming her rival yet again at the Games 9-0, 9-6, 9-5.The women's competitive year ended in stunning fashion in Stuttgart, Ger., in November, when Fitz-Gerald captured her third consecutive World Open title by beating Martin 10-8 in the memorable deciding game after trailing 2-8 and needing to save no less than eight match balls. Immediately thereafter, the two paired up to lead Australia to the world team title, beating England 3-0 in the final.The men's pattern for the year was set in the British Open when Jansher Khan of Pakistan, who had been ranked first in the world for six years but was some way short of fitness after surgery, was beaten by Nicol in the final. Khan finished the year by falling out of the top 10 after several months of injury. The men's World Open was played in December in Qatar, where Power avenged his Commonwealth Games result against Nicol to become the first North American world champion, winning the final 15-17, 15-7, 15-9, 15-10.ANDREW SHELLEY▪ 1998While the squash world looked forward to first-time participation in the 1998 Commonwealth and Asian games, there was little tangible progress in 1997 on the road to inclusion in the Olympics. Though last-ditch efforts to gain a place at the Sydney (Australia) Games in 2000 were being made, the door seemed closed.Meanwhile, the World Squash Federation was continuing its twin thrusts of promoting doubles squash and enforcing the mandatory use of eye protection for juniors competing in world championships. Goggles were also mandated by regional federations for juniors competing in their events.On court, for the first time a world squash championship was contested in South America, as Rio de Janeiro played host to the junior women's event. The team championship was won by England, which beat surprising finalist New Zealand on the last day. The individual title also went to England when top seed Tania Bailey beat Isabelle Stoehr of France in the final.The women's World Open in Sydney in October featured an all-Australian final. Sarah Fitz-Gerald held on to the title that she had won for the first time 12 months earlier, defeating former champion Michelle Martin 9-5, 5-9, 6-9, 9-2, 9-3 in the final. The match was a reversal of their contest in April, when Martin defeated Fitz-Gerald to take her fifth consecutive British Open title.Meanwhile, Jansher Khan ) (Khan, Jansher ), who won his sixth British Open in a grueling 126-minute marathon over Peter Nicol of Scotland, decided for personal reasons against trying to add to his tally of eight World Open titles. The championship was won by Rodney Eyles of Australia, who beat Nicol 15-11, 15-12, 15-12 in the final. First-time finalist Canada was beaten by defending champion England in the team final, which followed the individual event.ANDREW SHELLEY▪ 1997During 1996 the World Squash Federation and its 111 member nations saw their hopes that squash would be included in the Olympics Games in 2000 die. Expectations were high when Australia, a powerful squash nation, had won the right to serve as the host of the Games, but, despite its having fulfilled all the requirements of the International Olympic Committee, the sport was unable to gain a place.England's men's team caused an upset in November 1995 by winning the men's world team championships in Cairo. In July 1996 an English men's team won the world junior men's title, also held in Cairo, beating host team Egypt two matches to one in the final.In October the women's World Open and team championships were staged in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia. Michelle Martin (Australia) failed to gain her fourth consecutive World Open championship when she unexpectedly lost to fellow Australian Liz Irving three games to one in the quarterfinal round. Irving then was defeated three games to two in the semifinals by Cassie Jackman of England. Sarah Fitz-Gerald of Australia defeated Jackman three games to none in the final to win her first World Open championship. She became the first woman to win both the world junior and senior crowns.In the team event, the Australian trio of Fitz-Gerald, Martin, and Irving combined to beat England two matches to one in the final and thus win the title for the third time in a row, despite Martin's again losing her match—this time to Jackman.The competitive year concluded with the men's World Open in Karachi, Pak. Jansher Khan of Pakistan won the tournament again to bring his record-breaking World Open tally to eight. In the final he defeated his primary recent challenger, Rodney Eyles of Australia, three games to one.(ANDREW SHELLEY)▪ 1996Jansher Khan of Pakistan and Michelle Martin of Australia won the major squash championships in 1995. Both retained the world titles they had gained the previous year.Khan won a record-breaking seventh World Open title in November when he beat Del Harris of England in a tight final 15-10, 17-14, 16-17, 15-8 at Nicosia, Cyprus. It was not always easy for him, however, as he was handicapped by blisters on his feet and nearly withdrew, in pain, before the final. His foot problems forced him to sit out some matches in the men's world team championship, which immediately followed the World Open in Cairo. He returned, however, to lead Pakistan to an acrimonious semifinal win over Australia. They failed in the finals to retain their title, losing two matches to one to England. In June, Khan had announced he would no longer play in the British squash league.Playing in his first world championship, Mark Chaloner beat experienced Mir Zaman Gul in the deciding match to enable England to win the title for the first time.While Martin did acquire a third World Open title in Hong Kong in July, it was not a vintage year for the Australian. The world title match was itself a focus of controversy that arose over the quality of refereeing during Martin's semifinal match against Cassandra Jackman of England. During the summer Martin was beaten in Japan and South Korea by another Australian, Sarah FitzGerald, and bowed out of the semifinals of the Malaysian Open. Martin retained her top position in the world rankings, and FitzGerald moved far ahead of the rest of the contenders to take the second spot for the first time.The world junior women's championship took place in Sydney, Australia, during July. The home team took the title, beating England two matches to one in the final. The individual champion was Jade Wilson of New Zealand, who beat Rachael Grinham of Australia 9-3, 9-4, 9-7 in a 32-minute final. (ANDREW SHELLEY)
* * *▪ plantany of various fruits of plants (genus Cucurbita) of the gourd family (Cucurbitaceae), widely cultivated as vegetables and for livestock feed. The principal species are C. maxima and certain varieties of C. pepo.Summer squash is a quick-growing, small-fruited, nontrailing or bush type of C. pepo. Plants are upright and spreading, 45 to 75 cm (18 to 30 inches) high, and produce a great diversity of fruit forms, from flattened, through oblong, to elongate and crooked fruits, coloured from white through cream to yellow, green, and variegated. Fruit surfaces or contours may be scalloped, smooth, ridged, or warty. The fruits develop very rapidly and must be harvested a few days after they form (before the seeds and rinds harden) and used soon after harvest.Winter varieties of squash, C. maxima, are long-vining, generally large-fruited, long-season kinds. The fruits after harvest can be stored many months (into wintertime) if kept dry and well above freezing. The fruit stems are greatly enlarged next to the fruits; the fruits show a wide range of sizes, shapes, and colours; and the rinds are relatively harder than those for summer squash and usually inedible to human tastes. See also pumpkin.Some squash may be indigenous to Asia, but most evidence suggests that squash is native to the New World, where it was widely cultivated by the Indians before European settlement.The fruit is usually served as a cooked vegetable, and the blossoms may also be cooked and eaten.
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