BIRDHOUSE GOURD (Calabash, Kalebass).
The bottle gourd is also called birdhouse gourd, trumpet gourd, calabash gourd, and white-flowered gourd.
The name "bottle gourd" is especially appropriate, because this plant species is one of the few from which useful and lasting containers can be made.
The bottle gourd is a vigorous, annual, running or climbing vine with large leaves and a lush appearance. It grows fast and may begin to flower only 2 months after seeding. The thick stem is furrowed longitudinally. The vine is branched and climbs by means of tendrils along the stem. The foliage is covered with soft hairs and has a foul musky odor when crushed. The leaves of the bottle gourd are up to 15 inches wide, circular in overall shape, with smooth margins, a few broad lobes, or with undulate margins. Leaves have a velvety texture because of the fine hairs, especially on the undersurface.
Sowing: Sow February to May. Soak seed in warm water for 2 hours before sowing.
Germinate singly in pots, at 68-86 F on the surface of a good free draining, damp seed compost. Apply a sprinkling of compost or vermiculite, ¼ in thick. Place in a propagator or seal container inside a polythene bag until after germination which usually takes 7-21 days. Do not exclude light at any stage as this is beneficial to germination.
Eng.: Calabash gourd. Suom.: Pullokurpitsa, Kalebassi. Sven.: Kalebasspumpa, Ätlig Kalebass. Bot. syn.: Lagenaria vulgaris Ser.