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Gourds include the fruits of some
flowering plant Flowering plants include multiple members of the clade Angiospermae (), commonly called angiosperms. The term "angiosperm" is derived from the Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greec ...

flowering plant
species in the family
Cucurbitaceae The Cucurbitaceae, also called cucurbits or the gourd family, are a plant family (biology), family consisting of about 965 species in around 95 genera, of which the most important to humans are: *''Cucurbita'' – Squash (plant), squash, pumpkin, ...

Cucurbitaceae
, particularly ''
Cucurbita ''Cucurbita'' (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republic, ...

Cucurbita
'' and ''
Lagenaria ''Lagenaria'' is a genus of gourd Gourds include the fruits of some flowering plant The flowering plants, also known as Angiospermae (), or Magnoliophyta (), are the most diverse group of Embryophyte, land plants, with 64 Order(biology), or ...
''. The term refers to a number of species and subspecies, many with hard shells, and some without. One of the earliest domesticated types of plants, subspecies of the
bottle gourd Calabash (''Lagenaria siceraria''), also known as bottle gourd, white-flowered gourd, long melon, New Guinea bean and Tasmania bean, is a vine A vine ( ''vīnea'' "grapevine", "vineyard", from ''vīnum'' "wine") is any with a growth of t ...

bottle gourd
, ''Lagenaria siceraria'', have been discovered in archaeological sites dating from as early as 13,000 BCE. Gourds have had numerous uses throughout history, including as tools, musical instruments, objects of art, film, and food.


Terminology

''Gourd'' is occasionally used to describe crop plants in the
family In , family (from la, familia) is a of people related either by (by recognized birth) or (by marriage or other relationship). The purpose of families is to maintain the well-being of its members and of society. Ideally, families would off ...
Cucurbitaceae, like
pumpkin A pumpkin is a cultivar A cultivar is a type of plant that people have bred for desired traits, which are reproduced in each new generation by a method such as grafting, tissue culture or carefully controlled seed production. Most culti ...

pumpkin
s,
cucumber Cucumber (''Cucumis sativus'') is a widely-cultivated creeping vine plant in the '' Cucurbitaceae'' gourd family that bears cucumiform fruits In botany Botany, also called , plant biology or phytology, is the science Scien ...

cucumber
s,
squash Squash may refer to: Sports * Squash (sport), the high-speed racquet sport also known as squash racquets * Squash (professional wrestling), an extremely one-sided match in professional wrestling * Squash tennis, a game similar to squash racquets ...
,
luffa ''Luffa'' is a genus of tropical and subtropical vine A vine (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Ro ...

luffa
, and
melon Image:Cantaloupe and canary melon.jpg, Canary melon and cantaloupe A melon is any of various plants of the family Cucurbitaceae with sweet, edible, and fleshy fruit. The word "melon" can refer to either the plant or specifically to the fruit. Bo ...

melon
s. More specifically, ''gourd'' refers to the
fruits In botany Botany, also called , plant biology or phytology, is the science of plant life and a branch of biology. A botanist, plant scientist or phytologist is a scientist who specialises in this field. The term "botany" comes from the ...

fruits
of plants in the two Cucurbitaceae genera ''
Lagenaria ''Lagenaria'' is a genus of gourd Gourds include the fruits of some flowering plant The flowering plants, also known as Angiospermae (), or Magnoliophyta (), are the most diverse group of Embryophyte, land plants, with 64 Order(biology), or ...
'' and ''
Cucurbita ''Cucurbita'' (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republic, ...

Cucurbita
'', or also to their hollow, dried-out shell. There are many different gourds worldwide. The main plants referred to as gourds include several species from the genus ''Cucurbita'' (mostly native to North America, including the
Malabar gourd ''Cucurbita ficifolia'' is a species of squash Squash may refer to: Sports * Squash (sport), the high-speed racquet sport also known as squash racquets * Squash (professional wrestling), an extremely one-sided match in professional wrestling ...
and
turban squash Turban squash, also known as "Turk's turban" or "French turban" (''"Giraumon"'' in French), is a type of Squash (plant), squash most often used as a winter squash. It is an Heirloom plant, heirloom, predating 1820. A cultivar of ''Cucurbita maxima ...

turban squash
), ''
Crescentia cujete ''Crescentia cujete'', commonly known as the calabash tree, is a species of flowering plant The flowering plants, also known as Angiospermae (), or Magnoliophyta (), are the most diverse group of Embryophyte, land plants, with 64 Order(biolo ...

Crescentia cujete
'' (the tree gourd or calabash tree, native to the American tropics) and ''
Lagenaria siceraria Calabash (''Lagenaria siceraria''), also known as bottle gourd, white-flowered gourd, long melon, New Guinea bean and Tasmania bean, is a vine grown for its fruit. It can be either harvested young to be consumed as a vegetable, or harvested mat ...

Lagenaria siceraria
'' (bottle gourd, thought to be originally from Africa but present worldwide). Other plants with gourd in their name include the luffa gourd (likely domesticated in Asia), which includes several species from the genus ''
Luffa ''Luffa'' is a genus of tropical and subtropical vine A vine (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ...

Luffa
'', as well as the
wax gourd#REDIRECT Wax gourd ''Benincasa hispida'', the wax gourd, also called ash gourd, white gourd, winter gourd, tallow gourd, ash pumpkin, winter melon, Chinese preserving melon and (Alu) Puhul, is a vine grown for its very large fruit, eaten as a ...
,
snake gourd ''Trichosanthes cucumerina'' is a tropical The tropics are the region of Earth surrounding the Equator. They are delimited in latitude by the Tropic of Cancer in the Northern Hemisphere at N and the Tropic of Capricorn in the Southern H ...
, ,
hedgehog gourd ''Cucumis dipsaceus'', also known as Arabian cucumber or hedgehog cucumber, is an annual climbing herb that can be found in tropical and arid locations. The plant is native to eastern Africa, first found in Sudan, southern Egypt, and Ethiopia. The ...
,
buffalo gourd ''Cucurbita foetidissima'' is a tuber Tubers are enlarged structures in some plant Plants are mainly multicellular organisms, predominantly photosynthetic Photosynthesis is a process used by plants and other organisms to Energy tra ...
/coyote gourd. The
bitter melon ''Momordica charantia'' (colloquially: bitter melon; bitter apple; bitter gourd; bitter squash; balsam-pear; with many more #Alternative names, names listed below) is a tropical and subtropical vine of the family Cucurbitaceae, widely grown in A ...

bitter melon
/balsam apple/balsam pear is also sometimes referred to as a gourd.


History

''L. siceraria'' or bottle gourd, thought to have originated in southern Africa, was brought to Europe and the Americas very early in history, being found in Peruvian archaeological sites dating from 13,000 to 11,000 BCE and Thailand sites from 11,000 to 6,000 BCE. A study of bottle gourd
DNA Deoxyribonucleic acid (; DNA) is a molecule File:Pentacene on Ni(111) STM.jpg, A scanning tunneling microscopy image of pentacene molecules, which consist of linear chains of five carbon rings. A molecule is an electrically neutral gro ...

DNA
published in 2005 suggests that there are two distinct subspecies of bottle gourds, domesticated independently in Africa and Asia, the latter approximately 4,000 years earlier. The gourds found in the Americas appear to have come from the Asian subspecies very early in history, although a new study now indicates Africa. The archaeological and DNA records show it is likely that the gourd was among the first domesticated species, in Asia between 12,000 and 13,000 years before present, and possibly the first domesticated plant species. Wild, poisonous gourds (''
Citrullus colocynthis ''Citrullus colocynthis'', with many common names including colocynth, bitter apple, bitter cucumber, desert gourd, egusi, vine of Sodom, or wild gourd, is a desert viny plant native to the Mediterranean Basin In biogeography, the Mediter ...

Citrullus colocynthis
'') were unknowingly added to the company of prophets' stew according to a story of
Elisha Elisha (; , Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approxim ...
in the
Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic languages, Afroasiatic language family. Historically, it is regarded as the language of the Israelites ...

Hebrew Bible
. Elisha added flour to the stew in order to purify it. Gourds continued to be used throughout history in almost every culture throughout the world. European contact in North America found extensive gourd use, including the use of bottle gourds as birdhouses to attract
purple martin The purple martin (''Progne subis'') is the largest swallow The swallows, martins, and saw-wings, or Hirundinidae, are a family of passerine bird Birds are a group of warm-blooded vertebrates constituting the class (biology), class Av ...
s, which provided bug control for agriculture. Almost every culture had musical instruments made of gourds, including drums, stringed instruments common to Africa and wind instruments, including the s of the Pacific.


Research

Scientists in India have been working on crossbreeding six members of the bitter gourd genus found in India to reduce the unpleasant taste while retaining the nutritional and medicinal values of the plants. These include , Spine gourd ('' Momordica subangulata''), Sweet gourd ('' Momordica cochinchinensis''), balsam apple (''
Momordica balsamina ''Momordica balsamina'' is a tendril-bearing annual plant, annual vine native to the tropical regions of Africa, introduced and invasive species, invasive in Asia, Australia, Central America, and North America, where they have been found in some ...
'') and ''Momordica sahyadrica''.


Uses

Cultures from arid regions often associated gourds with water, and they appear in many creation myths. Since the beginning of their history, they have had a multitude of uses, including food, kitchen tools, toys, musical instruments and decoration. Today, gourds are commonly used for a wide variety of crafts, including jewelry, furniture, dishes, utensils and a wide variety of decorations using carving, burning and other techniques. The Chinese developed a technique of tying a two-part mould around young gourds, or a part of them, so that the gourd grew into the mould and took its shape. Shaped gourds had various decorative uses, especially as boxes, bottles and other containers. The Luffa gourds, '''' and ''
Luffa acutangula ''Luffa acutangula'' is commercially grown for its unripe fruits as a vegetable. Mature fruits are used as natural cleaning sponges. Its fruit slightly resembles a cucumber or zucchini with ridges. It ranges from central and eastern Asia to southe ...
'', have been used throughout recent history as scrubbing sponge and strainer. This is prepared by removing the skin and pulp from the gourd, and bleaching the fibers. Gourds are also used in instruments. For example, the
Balafon The balafon (, ) is a gourd-resonated xylophone, a type of struck idiophone. It is closely associated with the neighbouring Mandé peoples, Mandé, Senufo people, Senoufo and Gur languages, Gur peoples of West Africa, particularly the Guinean br ...

Balafon
, a West-African percussion instrument, is a xylophone that has gourds attached to the bottom of each note for resonance. File:Calebasse.jpg,
Calabash Calabash (''Lagenaria siceraria''), also known as bottle gourd, white-flowered gourd, long melon, New Guinea bean and Tasmania bean, is a vine A vine (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a langua ...
gourd, ''
Lagenaria siceraria Calabash (''Lagenaria siceraria''), also known as bottle gourd, white-flowered gourd, long melon, New Guinea bean and Tasmania bean, is a vine grown for its fruit. It can be either harvested young to be consumed as a vegetable, or harvested mat ...

Lagenaria siceraria
'', used for drinking ''
mate Mate may refer to: Science * Mate, one of a pair of animals involved in: ** Mate choice, intersexual selection ** Mating * Multi-antimicrobial extrusion protein, or MATE, an efflux transporter family of proteins Person or title * Mate (colloqu ...
'' File:Snuff Bottle (Biyanhu) with Flower Vases and Inscriptions LACMA M.45.3.333a-b.jpg, Chinese snuff bottle (biyanhu) with body from a moulded gourd, and a
jade Jade is a mineral, much used in some cultures as jewellery and for ornaments, mostly known for its green varieties, though it appears naturally in other colors as well, notably yellow and white. Jade can refer to either of two different silica ...

jade
stopper File:Balafoon.jpg, A ''fixed-key'' balafon, showing gourd resonators with membrane holes


See also

* A
güiro The güiro () is a Latin American percussion instrument A percussion instrument is a musical instrument A musical instrument is a device created or adapted to make Music, musical sounds. In principle, any object that produces sound c ...

güiro
is a Latin American percussion instrument made from a gourd. *
Maraca A maraca (), sometimes called rumba shaker or chac-chac, is a rattle Rattle may refer to: Instruments * Rattle (percussion instrument), a type of percussion instrument * Rattle (percussion beater), a part of some percussion instruments * R ...

Maraca
s are percussion instruments often made from gourds. * A
sitar The sitar ( or ; ) is a plucked stringed instrument Plucked string instruments are a subcategory of string instrument String instruments, stringed instruments, or chordophones are musical instrument A musical instrument is a device cr ...

sitar
is a plucked stringed instrument, parts of which are made from gourds. *
Africa Africa is the world's second-largest and second-most populous continent A continent is any of several large landmass A landmass, or land mass, is a large region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', ...

Africa
n percussion instruments are made incorporating gourds, including the
shekere The shekere (from Yoruba Ṣẹ̀kẹ̀rẹ̀) is a West African percussion instrument A percussion instrument is a musical instrument A musical instrument is a device created or adapted to make Music, musical sounds. In principle, ...

shekere
,
axatse The axatse( /ˈɑː.hɑː.tʃeɪˌ/ or /ˈɑː.hɑː.tseɪˌ/) is a West African rattle-like percussion instrument A percussion instrument is a musical instrument that is sounded by being struck or scraped by a beater (percussion), beate ...

axatse
,
balafon The balafon (, ) is a gourd-resonated xylophone, a type of struck idiophone. It is closely associated with the neighbouring Mandé peoples, Mandé, Senufo people, Senoufo and Gur languages, Gur peoples of West Africa, particularly the Guinean br ...

balafon
, and
caxixi A caxixi () is a percussion instrument A percussion instrument is a musical instrument that is sounded by being struck or scraped by a beater (percussion), beater including attached or enclosed beaters or Rattle (percussion beater), rat ...

caxixi
. *
Salakot Salakót is a traditional lightweight headgear Headgear, headwear, or headdress is the name given to any element of clothing A kanga, worn throughout the African Great Lakes region Clothing (also known as clothes, apparel, and att ...

Salakot
, a traditional headgear of the Philippines which can be made from the
bottle gourd Calabash (''Lagenaria siceraria''), also known as bottle gourd, white-flowered gourd, long melon, New Guinea bean and Tasmania bean, is a vine A vine ( ''vīnea'' "grapevine", "vineyard", from ''vīnum'' "wine") is any with a growth of t ...

bottle gourd


Citations


General bibliography

*


External links

* {{cite EB1911, wstitle=Gourd , short=x Bottles Cucurbitaceae fr:Courge id:Labu