S. NAZIMUDDIN AND S. SHAHARYAR H. NAQVI
Lagenaria vulgaris Ser.
Annual, climber or trailer. Tendril 2-fid. Stem densely hairy. Leaves palmate, broadly ovate, reniform or sub-orbicular, cordate, obscurely 3-5-lobed, lobes rounded, 3.0-23 x 4-23 cm; petiole 2.7-13 cm long with a pair of small apical lateral conical glands. Both male and female flowers solitary; male penduncle as long as petiole, female somewhat shorter. Corolla white, petals of male flower obovate, apiculate, 2.7-4.5 cm long, 1.8-3.7 cm broad. Staminal filaments 3-4 mm long; anthers oblong, coherent, included; thecae triplicate. Petals of female flowers c. 30 x 24 mm. Ovary ovoid, villous, 11-17 mm long, 6-8 mm across. Fruit large, subglobose, ellipsoid, lageniform, sometimes biventricose, green or greenish-yellow, hairy, indehiscent. Seeds white, oblong, compressed, slightly tapered, slightly 2-horned on the shoulders, 7-20 mm long.
Fl.Per.: Almost throughout the year, specially March-May.
Type: Described from Chile, Molina (not located, probably destroyed).
Distribution: A pantropical species of Asian and African origin. Cultivated throughout Pakistan.
The calabash or bottle gourd is extensively cultivated in the plains of Pakistan all the year round for its young and tender fruits eaten as popular domestic vegetable called Lauki or Kaddu. The shell of the old fruits are often used as water bottles and for making ladles, pipes, blowing, horns, snuff boxes etc. The dry shells are also used in musical instruments like Sitar and Bia. The pulp has cooling and antibilious effect. The seed oil is applied externally in headache.