Sunday, April 15, 2007


Scientific Name: Crescentia cujete

Plant Family: Bignoniaceae

Other Names: luch, hom, huaz, tree gourd, wild calabash, jicara

The calabash is a vine grown for its fruit, which can either be harvested young, and used as a vegetable, or harvested mature, dried, and used as a bottle, utensil, or pipe. For this reason, one of the calabash subspecies is known as the bottle gourd. The fresh fruit has a smooth, light green skin and white flesh.

The calabash is an evergreen tree reaching 20 to 30 feet in height, with a broad, irregular crown composed of long, spreading branches clothed in two to six-inch-long, bright green leaves, which create moderate shade beneath the tree. The calabash stands out for its year-round production of flowers and fruit, both of which are unusual. The two- inch-wide flowers are yellow/green, with red or purple veins, are cup-shaped, and appear to emerge directly from the branches. These are followed by the emergence of the large, round fruit, 5 to 12 inches in diameter, with a smooth, hard shell, which hang directly beneath the branches.

calabash ripening in the tree

The calabash was one of the first cultivated plants in the world, grown not for food but as a container.

The Calabash is also used in making the Shegureh and Balangi (a type of Xylophone) musical instruments

Balo African xylophone

It is also used by some musicians as a kora.

Seckou Keita playing the kora, a music instrument made from the calabash

The fruit of the calabash tree, which are also called calabash, are very typical of African households. The Calabash is hollowed out and dried, to be used to clean rice, carry water, and just as a food container. Smaller sizes are used as bowls to drink palm wine, blood and milk.

Lamp shade made from the calabash

Mbira a thumb music organ made from the calabash

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Quality posts is the crucial to interest the viewers to go to see the web site, that's what this web site is providing.
my web page - ledgers