Crescentia cujete

Crescentia cujete L.

Common Names: Calabash

Family: Bignoniaceae

Habit: Crescentia cujete grows as a tree up to 10 m in height. The simple leaves are arranged oppositely but clustered at branch tips, obovate to spathulate, to 25 cm in length, with an acuminate leaf apex and an entire leaf margin.

The perfect, complete, zygomorphic flowers are arranged along the stem. The calyx has 5 fused into 2 lobes, greenish sepals.  The corolla has 5 green/yellow, fused petals. There are 4 stamens and 1 staminode fused to the corolla tube.  The superior ovary has 1 locule and many ovules.  The fruit is a large hard walled, green berry at maturity.

Habitat: Crescentia cujete occurs in Human Altered environments (yards, gardens) and does not occur in natural areas except as an escapee.

Distribution: Crescentia cujete is doubtful native to the Lucayan Archipelago or the Caribbean region but is grown on many islands.  It is native to Mexico, Central and northern South America and now grows in parts of Africa and Asia.

Medicinal/Cultural/Economic usage: Crescentia cujete has is not known to be used medicinally in the Lucayan Archipelago.

The fruits have been used in some places to make decorative wall hangings.  The fruits can be cleaned and dried to be used for bowls, cups or shallow plates.