Edited by Ho Dinh Hai Long An - Vietnam Updated: 2/11/2014
1- Introduction to Bottle Gourds
1.1- Scientific classification Kingdom: Plantae Phylum: Angiosperms Division: Eudicots Class: Rosids Order: Cucurbitales Family: Cucurbitaceae Genus: Lagenaria Species: Lagenaria siceraria 1.1.1- The Order Cucurbitales The Cucurbitales are an order of flowering plants, included in the rosid group of dicotyledons. This order mostly belongs to tropical areas, with limited presence in subtropic and temperate regions. The order includes shrubs and trees, together with many herbs and climbers. The present classification is due to APG III (2009). The Order Cucurbitales consists of roughly 2600 species in eight families: Apodanthaceae Anisophylleaceae Begoniaceae (begonia family) Coriariaceae Corynocarpaceae Cucurbitaceae (gourd family) Datiscaceae Tetramelaceae 1.1.2- The Family Cucurbitaceae The Family Cucurbitaceae (also called gour family) consist of approximately 125 genera and 960 species, mainly in regions tropical and subtropical. All species are sensitive to frost. Most of the plants in this family are annualvines but there are also woody lianas, thorny shrubs, and trees (Dendrosicyos). Many species have large, yellow or white flowers. The stems are hairy and pentangular. Tendrils are present at 90° to the leaf petioles at nodes. Leaves are exstipulate alternate simple palmately lobed or palmately compound. The flowers are unisexual, with male and female flowers on different plants (dioecious) or on the same plant (monoecious). The female flowers have inferior ovaries. The fruit is often a kind of modified berry called a pepo. The Cucurbitaceae family ranks among the highest of plant families for number and percentage of species used as human food. The plants in this family are grown around the tropics and in temperate areas, where those with edible fruits were among the earliest cultivated plants both in the Old and New World. The Cucurbitaceae are a plantfamily, sometimes called the gourdfamily, consisting of over a hundred genera, the most important genera of which are: Benincasa : Winter melon or Wax gourd (Benincasa hispida) Citrullus : watermelon(Citrullus lanatus) and others Cucumis: cucumber(Cucumis sativus), variousmelons Cucurbita : squash,pumpkin,zucchini, somegourds Lagenaria: mostly non-edible gourds Luffa: common name also luffa Momordica : Bitter gourd, bitter melon 1.1.3- Genus Lagenaria (Vietnamese: Chi Bầu) + Introduction Lagenariais a genus of gourd-bearing vines from the familyCucurbitaceae, also known as the "Squash" family. It contains at least seven species, one of which is known as the Calabash (Lagenaria siceraria). Its species fruit can either be harvested young and used as a vegetable or harvested mature, dried, and used as a bottle or utensil. + Synonyms AdenopusBenth. SphaerosicyosHook.f. +SelectedSpecies Lagenaria abyssinica Lagenaria breviflora Lagenaria guineensis Lagenaria rufa Lagenaria siceraria Lagenaria sphaerica Lagenaria vulgaris 1.1.4- Species Lagenaria siceraria The calabash, Lagenaria siceraria (synonym Lagenaria vulgaris Ser.), also known as opo squash, bottle gourd or long melon, 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. The fresh fruit has a light green smooth skin and a white flesh. Rounder varieties are calledcalabash gourds. They come in a variety of shapes: they can be huge and rounded, small and bottle shaped, or slim and serpentine, more than a metre long. The calabash was one of the first cultivated plants in the world, grown not primarily for food, but for use as a water container. The bottle gourd may have been carried from Africa to Asia, Europe and the Americas in the course of human migration, or by seeds floating across the oceans inside the gourd. It has been proven to be in the New World prior to the arrival of Columbus. It shares its common name with that of the calabash tree (Crescentia cujete).
1.2- Scientific names and Vernaculars +Scientific name:Lagenaria siceraria (Molina)Standl. +Synomyms: Cucurbita lagenariaL. Cucurbita lagenaria-oblongaBlanco Cucurbita lagenaria-villosaBlanco Cucurbita leucanthaDuch. Lagenaria leucantha(Duch.) Rusby Lagenaria siceraria (Mol.) Standley Lagenaria vulgarisSeringe +English names: Calabash, Calabash gourd, Bottle gourd, Opo squash,Long melon. Common gourd, White-flowered gourd, White pumpkin. +French names: Gourde, Gourde bouteille, Cougourde, Calebassier, Calebasse. +Vietnamese names: Bau (Bầu), Bau canh (Bầu canh), Bau nam (Bầu nậm). + Asean Vernaculars: - Burma: Boo thee - Indonesian: Labu botol, Labu air, Labu putih - Malaysian: Sorekai ? - Philippines: Upo - Thailand: Namtao (Naam tao), Manamtao, Khi luu saa. -Cambodian: Khlôôk. -Laos: Namz taux. 1.3- Etymology The English word calabash comes from Spanishcalabazawith the same meaning. The origin of the Spanish word is obscure. It is possibly from Arabicqar'a yabisa"dry gourd", from Persiankharabuz, used of various large melons; or the Spanish may have come from a pre-Roman Iberiancalapaccia. The calabash in English also known as opo squash, bottle gourd or long melon, 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. The fresh fruit has a light green smooth skin and a white flesh. Rounder varieties are called calabash gourds. They come in a variety of shapes: they can be huge and rounded, small and bottle shaped, or slim and serpentine, more than a metre long.
1.4- Origin and distribution + Origin The origin of bottle gourd is a difficult problem to explain because it had grown wildly both in the Old World and the New World with a long time before the European discovered America. It had been cultivated in Asia, Europe and the Americas for thousands of years before Columbus' discovery of America. Along with several wild perennialLagenariaspecies, the Bottle Gourd has long been believed to be indigenous to Africa. However, until the recent discovery and morphological and genetic characterization of a wild population ofL. sicerariain Zimbabwe, the Bottle Gourd had only ever been well documented as a domesticated plant (Decker-Walters et al. 2004). Recent research indicates some can have
an African origin and at least two unrelated domestications: one 8-9 thousand
years ago, based on the analysis of archeological samples found in Asia, a
second, four thousand years ago, traced from archeological discoveries inEgypt. Comparisons of DNA sequences from archaeological bottle gourd specimens and modern Asian and African landracesidentify Asia as the source of its introduction to the New World. In February 2014, the original hypothesis was revived based on a more thorough genetic study. Researchers examined the entire genome, including theplasmidgenome and concluded that American specimens were most closely related to wild African variants and could have drifted over the ocean several or many times as long as 10,000 years ago. + Distribution Although apparently native to Africa, the Bottle Gourd had reached Asia and the Americas by 9000 to 8000 years ago, possibly as a wild species whose fruits had floated across the sea (experiments have shown that domesticated Bottle Gourds contain still-viable seeds even after floating in sea water for more than 7 months; Whitaker and Carter 1954). The bottle gourd may have been carried from Africa to Asia, Europe and the Americas in the course of human migration,or by seeds floating across the oceans inside the gourd. It has been proven to be in the New World prior to the arrival of Columbus. The Bottle Gourd had a broad New World distribution by 8000 years ago. Independent domestications from wild populations are believed to have occurred in both the Old World and New World (a variety of plants and animals were independently domesticated in multiple parts of the world between 5000 and 10000 years ago). A range of data suggests that the Bottle Gourd was present in the Americas as a domesticated plant by 10,000 B.P., which would make it among the earliest domesticated species in the New World. Nowadays bottle gourds are cultivated on almost the tropical
and subtropical regions on the World as a popular fruit vegetables.
2- Characteristics of Bottle Gourds
2.1- Description The Bottle gourd was one of the first cultivated plants in the world, grown not primarily for food, but for use as a water container. Botanically, bottle gourd or calabash (Lagenaria siceraria) belongs to the broader cucurbitaceae (gourd) family of vegetables. Bottle gourd is a fast growing, annual climber (vine) that requires adequate sun light for flowering and fruiting. It can be grown under wide range of soils and require trellis to support its easy spread. Many forms of the bottle gourd have been cultivated for specific purposes, and the sizes of the vines, leaves, and flowers, as well as the sizes and shapes of the fruits, vary greatly. The forms are named for the shape of the fruit-e.g., club, dipper, dolphin, kettle, and trough. + Plant: Bottle gourd is a coarse vine reaching a length of several meters. Its intensely branched stems bear musky, deep green, broad leaves just similar as that inpumpkins, and white, monoecious flowers in the summer. A bottle gourd vine is a quick-growingannualwith a hairy stem, long forkedtendrils, and a musky odour. + Leaves: The leaves of bottle gourds are rounded, 10 to 40 centimeters wide, softly hairy on both sides, 5-angled or lobed. The young leaves may also be eaten asgreens. + Flowers: Flowers are white (also called white-flower gourd), large, solitary, and monoecious or dioecious. Petals are ovate, 3 to 4 centimeters long. Calyx is hairy, with a funnel-shaped tube. The large, showy whiteflowersand dense foliage make it a popular screen and ornamental plant. +Fruits: The fruits of bottle gourds come in wide range of shapes and sizes. They come in a variety of shapes: they can be huge and rounded, small and bottle shaped, or slim and serpentine. The fruits of some cultivated varieties may be more than 1 metre (about 3 feet) long. The fruit features oval, pear shaped or elongated and smooth skin that is light green in color. In case of round or pear sahped bottle gourd, their surface is marked by incospicuous ridges that run lengthwise. Fruit is green, mottled with gray or white, usually club-shaped, up to 80 centimeters long and 15 centimeters across, but in other forms, ovoid to depressed-globose and nearly as thick as it is long.The fresh fruit usually has a light green smooth skin and a white flesh. The fruits can either be harvested young and used as avegetable, or harvested mature, dried, and used as a bottle, utensil, or pipe. After about 75 days from the plantation, young, tender, edible fruits evolve that will be ready for harvesting.Young fruits should be consumed within 2 weeks after harvest. Longer storage causes rapid water loss. The hard-shelled fruits, edible when young, are made into water bottles, dippers, spoons, pipes, and many other utensils and containers. They also are fashioned into birdhouses, fancy ornaments, lamps, and musical instruments. + Seeds: Internally, its flesh is white, spongy and embedded with soft, tiny seeds. As the fruit begin to mature, its seeds gradually develop to bigger size similar to as that inhoneydew melons. Bottle gourds may be grown easily from seed but require a long hot growing season to mature.