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A picture of a Bottle Gourd

Bottle Gourd

Lagenaria siceraria

Also known as

Calabash, Kalbas (Afr.), Moraka (North Sotho), Iselwa (Xhosa, Zulu), Segwana (Tswana)

Calabash (Lagenaria siceraria) in Seoul 2 by Hyunjung Kim (CC0)

Full Sun
Easy care
Moderate watering
Frost Hardy

9a

USDA zone

-7°C

Minimum temperature

Expected size

Height
Spread

9m

Max

5m

2m

Min

1m

Flowering

  • spring
  • summer
  • autumn
  • winter

This plant has no fragrance

More images

A photo of Bottle Gourd
Sukabağı
A photo of Bottle Gourd
Lagenaria siceraria 3
A photo of Bottle Gourd

Overview

Lagenaria siceraria is a vigorous annual herb with spreading or climbing stems that are brittle, thick and softly hairy. The simple, medium-sized leaves have short, soft hairs and are either egg-, kidney- or heart-shaped. Commonly known as Bottle Gourd, White-Flowered Gourd or Calabash, amongst other names. Solitary, monoecious (male and female flowers on one plant) flowers have five petals and are either cream or white, with pale yellow at the base. The fleshy, densely hairy to smooth fruit is rounded to flask-shaped or globose. Fruits are coloured green, maturing to yellowish or pale brown with the pulp drying out completely upon ripening, leaving a thick, hard, hollow shell with almost nothing inside except seeds. Many, small seeds are embedded in a spongy pulp and are compressed, with two flat facial ridges, in some variants rather irregular and wrinkled. ZA Distribution: Gauteng, Limpopo, North West.

Common problems

Cucumber beetle, aphids, slugs, snails, powdery mildew and squash vine borers.

    Harvesting

    When harvesting gourds, leave as much stem as possible. The gourds should be hardened off prior to harvesting. Cease giving water and fertilizer, and let the fruit ripen and harden. A good indication that it is ready to pick are brown, dried stems.

    Propagation

    Seed

    Direct sow seeds or transplant carefully 15-20 day-old seedlings.

    Special Features

    Attracts useful insects

    Bees help with pollination

    Attractive fruits

    Interesting shapes that dries to a hard shell. Used to store liquid like water and milk in old days.

    Uses

    Medicinal

    Various medicinal uses of the leaves, fruit and seeds have been recorded from various countries, e.g. as a pectoral, to destroy parasitic worms, a purgative and even as a headache remedy.

    Edible

    Leaves, shoots, fruits and seeds are edible when young.

    Other uses

    Edible