By far the most ubiquitous member of the summer squash family, characterized by thin, edible skins.
Zucchini's ancestors, like all squashes, originated in America. European settlers of the New World were introduced to the numerous squash varieties by the Native Americans.
Eventually summer squash made its way to the warm Mediterranean regions of Europe where it thrived and was renamed zucchini by the Italians and courgette by the French, both names meaning "small squash", implying that they were eaten at their small, young stage.
Incredible as it may seem, zucchini became a rarity in the U.S. until it was re-introduced, in an improved version, by Italian immigrants in the 1920's
Zucchini plants are very prolific and easy to grow which has given rise to "Sneak Some Zucchini Onto Your Neighbor's Porch Night", and other similar festivities at the end of summer.