Characteristics of Calabash Tree (Crescentia cujete) in the Wild

Crescentia cujete
Calabash is a species of flowering tree that grows in Africa, Central America, South America, West Indies, and South Florida. Currently, the calabash tree spreads to almost all tropical regions of the world including Mexico, Peru, Hawaii, Brazil, Colombia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Vietnam, and India.

Calabash fruit is very poisonous and should not be consumed, however, the hard skin of the fruit is often used for various uses such as cups, bowls, scoops, etc. In Hawaii, the leather for calabash is carved to make a souvenir complete with interesting knick-knacks.

There are many local names for this fruit tree, including Cuité (Brazil), Calabacero (Spain), Totumo (Colombia, Venezuela, and Peru), Tutumo (Bolivia and Paraguay), Taparo (Venezuela), Mate (Ecuador), Cuyabra (Colombia), Jícaro (Mexico and Nicaragua), Miracle Fruit (Philippines), Đào Tiên (Vietnam), Rum tree (Sri Lanka), and La’amia (Hawaii).


Characteristics of Calabash Leaf

Crescentia cujete Leaf
Source : Ng

The leaves are compound, arranged in pinnate, oval with a tapered tip, about 10-15 cm long, and short-stemmed.


Characteristics of Calabash Flower

Crescentia cujete Flower
Source : Neuwirth

The flowers are single, appearing from branches or twigs.


Characteristics of Calabash Fruit

Crescentia cujete Fruit
Source : Worthington

The fruit is a large round green and poisonous.


Characteristics of Calabash Tree

Crescentia cujete Tree
Source : Fuad Morad

Calabash trees can reach a height of 8-10 meters, it is a strong tree because it can grow in locations with poor soil conditions. The tree trunk is cylindrical, grooved, and blackish white.

Calabash leaves, stems, and fruit contain saponins and polyphenols, the fruit also contains flavonoids.


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