GOURD , a name given to various
See also:plants of the
See also:order Cucurbilaceae, especially those belonging to the genus Cucurbita, monoecious trailing herbs of
See also:annual duration, with long succulent stems furnished with tendrils, and large, rough, palmately-lobed leaves; the
See also:flowers are generally large and of a bright yellow or orange
See also:colour, the barren ones with the stamens
See also:united; the fertile are followed by the' large succulent fruit that gives the gourds their chief economic value . Many varieties of Cucurbita are under cultivation in tropical and temperate climates, especially in
See also:Asia; but it is extremely difficult to refer them to definite specific groups, on account of the facility with which they hybridize; while it is very doubtful whether any of the
See also:original forms now exist in the
See also:wild state .
See also:Charles Naudin, who made a careful and interesting series of observations upon this genus, came to the conclusion that all varieties known in
See also:European gardens might be referred to six original
See also:species; probably three, or at most four, have furnished the edible kinds in ordinary cultivation . Adopting the specific names usually given to the more
See also:familiar forms, the most important of the gourds, from an economic point of view, is perhaps C.
See also:maxima, the Potiron Jaune of the French, the red and yellow gourd of
See also:British gardeners (fig . 6), the spheroidal fruit of which is remarkable for its enormous
See also:size: the colour of the somewhat rough rind varies from
See also:white to bright yellow, while in some kinds it remains
See also:green; the fleshy interior is of a deep yellow or orange tint . This valuable gourd is grown extensively in southern Asia and
See also:Europe . In
See also:Turkey and Asia Minor it yields, at some periods of the
See also:year, an important article of
See also:diet to the
See also:people; immense quantities are sold in the markets of Constantinople, where in the winter the heaps of one variety with a white rind are described as resembling mounds of snowballs . The yellow kind attains occasionally a
See also:weight of upwards of 240 lb . It grows well in Central Europe and the United States, while in the south of England it will produce its gigantic fruit in perfection in hot summers . The yellow flesh of this gourd and its numerous varieties yields a considerable amount of nutriment, and is the more valuable as the fruit can be kept, even in warm climates, for a long
See also:time . In France and in the East it is much used in soups and ragouts, while simply boiled it forms a substitute for other table vegetables; the taste has been compared to that of a
See also:carrot . In some countries the larger kinds are employed as
See also:food .
The seeds yield by expression a large quantity of a bland oil, which is used for the same purposes as that of the
See also:poppy and
See also:olive . The "
See also:mammoth " gourds of
See also:English and
See also:American gardeners (known in
See also:America as squashes) belong to this species . The
See also:pumpkin (summer squash of America) is Cucurbita Pepo . Some of the varieties of C. maxima and Pepo contain a considerable quantity of
See also:sugar, amounting in the sweetest kinds to 4 or 5%, and in the hot plains of Hungary efforts have been made to make use of them as a commercial source of sugar . The young shoots of both these large gourds may be given to cattle, and admit of being eaten as a green
See also:vegetable when boiled . The vegetable marrow is a variety (ovifera) of C . Pepo . Many smaller gourds are cultivated in India and other hot climates, and some have been introduced into English gardens, rather for the beauty of their fruit and foliage than for their esculent qualities . Among these is C . Pepo
See also:var. aurantia, the orange gourd, bearing a spheroidal fruit, like a large orange in
See also:form and colour; in Britain it is generally too bitter to be palatable, though applied to culinary purposes in Turkey and the
See also:Levant . C . Pepo var. pyriformis and var. verrucosa, the warted gourds, are likewise occasionally eaten, especially in the immature state; and C. moschata (
See also:melon) is very extensively cultivated throughout India by the natives, the yellow flesh being cooked and eaten .
Thebottle-gourds are placed in a
See also:separate genus, Lagenaria, chiefly differing
See also:Group of Gourds. from Cucurbita in the an-1-5 . Various forms of bottle gourd, thers being
See also:free instead of Lagenaria vulgaris. adherent . The bottle-gourd 6 .
See also:Giant gourd, Cucurbita maxima. properly so-called, L. vul- garis, is a climbing plant with downy, heart-shaped leaves and beautiful white flowers: the remarkable fruit (
See also:figs . 1-5) first begins to grow in the form of an elongated cylinder, but gradually widens towards the extremity, until, when ripe, it resembles a
See also:flask with a narrow
See also:neck and large rounded bulb; it sometimes attains a length of 7 ft . When ripe, the pulp is removed from the neck, and the interior cleared by leaving
See also:standing in it; the woody rind that remains is used as a bottle: or the
See also:part is cut off and cleared out, forming a
See also:basin-like vessel applied to the same domestic purposes as the
See also:calabash (Crescentia) of the West Indies: the smaller varieties, divided length-wise, form spoons . The ripe fruit is
See also:apt to be bitter and cathartic, but while immature it is eaten by the
See also:Arabs and
See also:Turks . When about the size of a small
See also:cucumber, it is stuffed with
See also:rice and minced
See also:meat, flavoured with pepper, onions, &c., and then boiled, forming a favourite dish with Eastern epicures . The elongated snake-gourds of India and
See also:China (Trichosanthes) are used in curries and stews . All the true gourds have a tendency to secrete the cathartic principle colocynthin, and in many varieties of Cucurbita and the allied genera it is often elaborated to such an extent as to render them unwholesome, or even poisonous . The seeds of several species therefore possess some anthelmintic properties; those of the
See also:common pumpkin are frequently administered in America as a vermifuge . The cultivation of gourds began far beyond the
See also:dawn of
See also:history, and the esculent species have become so modified by culture that the original plants from which they have descended can no longer be traced .
The abundance of varieties in India would seem to indicate that part of Asia as the birthplace of the
See also:present edible forms; but some appear to have been cultivated in all the hotter regions of that continent, and in
See also:North Africa, from the earliest ages, while the Romans were familiar with at least certain kinds of Cucurbita, and with the bottle-gourd . Cucurbita Pepo, the source of many of the American forms, is probably a native of that continent . Most of the annual gourds may be grown successfully in Britain . They are usually raised in hotbeds or under frames, and planted out in
See also:soil in the early summer as soon as the nights become warm . The more ornamental kinds may be trained over trellis-
See also:work, a favourite mode of displaying them in the East; but the situation must be sheltered and sunny . Even Lagenaria will sometimes
See also:fine fruit when so treated in the southern counties . For an account of these cultivations in England see paper by Mr J . W . Odell, " Gourds and Cucurbits," in Journ . Royal Hort .
See also:Soc. iodic . 450 (1904) .
CHARLES FRANCOIS GOUNOD (1818--1893)
BARON GASPAR GOURGAUD (1783-1852)
There are no comments yet for this article.
Do not copy, download, transfer, or otherwise replicate the site content in whole or in part.
Links to articles and home page are encouraged.