About Knucklehead Pumpkins

The knucklehead is not just decorative, it is a 'real' pumpkin and part of the squash family like the other pumpkins; and like any other pumpkin you can grow it in your garden, carve it, bake it and eat the pumpkin seeds.

In size, knuckleheads are smaller- to medium-sized pumpkins, ranging from ten to twenty pounds when ripe. Twelve to fifteen pounds seems to be the average, and knuckleheads don't seem to reach a large or jumbo size like some other types.

In shape, they have a reliable upright shape, rather than being fat or flat or irregular, like other pumpkins that tend to grow squat and fat and in other unpredictable shapes. Knuckleheads average a foot in height and a couple inches less than that in diameter, so look slightly elongated vertically.

In taste, I read that the knucklehead has very sweet and yellow flesh after roasting. I will report to you first-hand once I have tried it myself.

In color, the knucklehead pumpkin is also stable, remaining a deep and vivid orange when ripe, while other pumpkins vary from light yellowish-orange to deep orange. The knucklehead begins life as an unripe green pumpkin, like any other, and as it ripens it turns a mottled orange-green, then the green is eventually all replaced by orange, though in some the 'warts' retain their deep green color even into ripeness. On my chosen pumpkin, however, all the warts are equal in orange to the rest of the skin, and in other knuckleheads the warts can become a lighter orange or dry and pale into scabby blisters. Below is a close-up of a ripe knucklehead with still-green warts:

Knucklehead Pumpkin green warts 

In details, knucklehead pumpkins have the vertical 'seams' or segment lines of other pumpkins, starting from a quarter inch width at top and bottom and fattening out to between one and three inches in the middle. But there, the similarity with other pumpkins ends, because now we get to those wonderful warts. There must be some technical name for them, but so far I've seen them called warts, blisters, bumps, lumps, growths, and - to give them their name, I suppose - knuckles or knuckle-heads.

These warts vary from knucklehead to knucklehead; in some pumpkins these warts are small and spread out over the whole skin; in others, the warts are mainly concentrated down the vertical seams. They seem to be more numerous at the top of the pumpkin and are often quite thick around the stem, but there doesn't appear to be any 'rule' and I've found the warts to vary from pumpkin to pumpkin, in size and shape and number and location.

Young SuperFreak Pumpkin

There is a separate strain of knucklehead pumpkin, a developed and trademarked strain called the Super Freak Series of knucklehead pumpkin. The Super Freak has taken those warts and maxed them out on steroids so they are huge and gnarly. I only found one example to take a pic of (at left, a young SuperFreak), but I will look for others and post pics eventually. I prefer to take the pics myself and not rip them off the internet, so be patient. You can type the Super Freak pumpkin into a search and see what they look like in all their gnarly glory. 

Whether small warts or huge knots and gnarls, the knucklehead pumpkin has a strange, but exotic and beautiful look to it, and it's wonderful to touch that bumpy waxy surface. They look great by themselves, and make for an even more unusual Halloween pumpkin when carved. I'll add that page to this site once I've carved mine.

There are actually other pumpkins with warts, like the very pale 'Brode Galeux d'Eysines', also known as the Peanut pumpkin, and the 'Red Warty Thing', though that is actually a true squash rather than a pumpkin. But the knucklehead doesn't just look strange or strange-ugly... it looks strange beautiful, just the right mix of shapes and colors to really turn your head.