An Atlantic Giant grown in Osaka Prefecture, Japan (photograph taken July 2007).
Atlantic Giant is the contemporary name for a squash variety that has been bred publicly for more than 130 years, to produce large fruit (carpel) with orange color. More specifically, it refers to the round phenotype of the >100 pound, orange squash variety of the speciesCucurbita maxima, bred from the common large squash of the Americas.
The uniqueness of the variety lies in its capacity to produce fruits larger than those produced by any other plant in the world, exceeding 6 feet (1.8 m) in diameter. The heaviest Atlantic Giant on record weighed 2,009.0 pounds (911.3 kg) and was grown by Ron Wallace in Greene, Rhode Island in 2012.
Numerous labels were created for the variety over the past centuries. As the germplasm of such a giant squash variety is commercially provocative, the name Atlantic Giant arose through a 1977-83 U.S. legal protection that was granted for the round phenotype, and later a trademark was secured (for only the name, as any private legal right to the germplasm expired in 1983). When the phenotype graduated back to the public domain in 1984, it retained the "Atlantic Giant" label due to public familiarity. After the right expired, an ensuing filing was made in September 1985 and accepted, purportedly for the oblong phenotypes of the variety. The 18-year right expired in 2004, leaving all phenotypes/any germplasm associated with the name Atlantic Giant back to its status of being a public property, as it was for the entirety of its history before 1977.