The squash family contains various members of the genus cucurbita, each of which has specific botanical characteristics. Cultivated squash and pumpkins are descendants of wild cucurbits first grown in Southern Mexico, Belize and Guatemala over 10,000 years ago. Spreading throughout North and South America, they quickly became a popular cultivar of Native peoples. Similar to corn, the cultivation of squash did not begin in Europe until after the discovery of the Americas. It is believed that the English term squash was derived from the Algonquin word askutasquash.