Crescentia cujete Linn. Bignoniaceae. Calabash Tree.
Tropical America. The fruit of this tree resembles a gourd. The plant is found wild or cultivated in various parts of tropical America and in the West Indies. The hard, woody shell of the fruit is made to serve many useful domestic purposes in the household economy of the people of these countries, such as basins, cups, spoons, water-bottles and pails. Wafer, apparently, speaks of this tree and of C. cucurbitina during his visit to the Isthmus, 1679-86: "There are two sorts of these trees but the difference is chiefly in the fruit; that of the one being sweet, the other bitter. The substance of both is spongy and juicy. That of the sweeter sort does not incline to a tart, sourish taste. The Indians, however, eat them frequently on a march, tho they are not very delightful. They only suck out the juice and spit out the rest. The bitter sort is not eatable." Henfrey says the subacid pulp of the fruit is eaten; Seemann, that it affords food to the negroes. Nuttall says the plant is found at Key West, Florida, and that the fruit is eaten by the Indians in time of scarcity while the unripe fruit is candied with sugar.
Sturtevant's Edible Plants of the World, 1919, was edited by U. P. Hedrick.