No. 22 in a Series of 253,486.

ZUCCHINI (Cucurbita pepo). Zucchini are immature squashes much beloved of home gardeners for their bountiful productivity and ease of cultivation. The life cycle of the zucchini plant is interesting and unusual. It begins with a seed sprouting in a compost heap. The seed quickly grows into a massive vine bearing dozens of zucchini, which the home gardener really intends to harvest sometime soon, but never gets around to picking, because no one in his home really likes zucchini all that well. Eventually the fruits grow too large and mature to be edible, and in the fall they are tossed on top of the compost heap, where the cycle begins again the following spring.

In standard Italian, the fruit of this plant is a zucchina, making the plural regularly zucchine; but in some Italian dialects, and in American Italian, the word has become zucchino, making the plural zucchini, which has become the American English singular as well. Zucchini are thus one of the few transgendered vegetables commonly grown in home gardens, and may be eligible for special protection under local laws. As if that were not difficult enough to sort out, botanically zucchini are fruits, whereas culinarily they are vegetables. Zucchini are thus terribly confused, and may benefit from a course of Rogerian psychotherapy.

Astrologically, zucchini are governed by a shaky coalition of constellations that tends to fall apart every few months.