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Crescentia alata - Kunth

Common Name Jicaro. Mexican calabash
Family Bignoniaceae
USDA hardiness 9-12
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Common or abundant on essentially dry but at seasons often very wet plains and hillsides, at elevations up to 1,200 metres[331 ].
Range Central America - Costa Rica to Mexico.
Edibility Rating    (2 of 5)
Other Uses    (3 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (2 of 5)
Care (info)
Tender Well drained soil Moist Soil Full sun
Crescentia alata Jicaro. Mexican calabash

Crescentia alata Jicaro. Mexican calabash
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Smaller fruit than Crescentia cujete (calabash) with slender limbs and a more erect habit

Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of lolypop
Crescentia alata is a deciduous Tree growing to 8 m (26ft) by 8 m (26ft) at a medium rate.
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 10. The flowers are pollinated by Bats.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: mildly acid, neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers dry or moist soil and can tolerate drought.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


Crescentia ternata Sess? & Moc. Crescentia trifolia Blanco Otophora paradoxa Blume Parmentiera alata (Kunth) Miers Pteromischus alatus (Kunth) Pichon


Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Fruit  Oil  Seed
Edible Uses: Oil

A refreshing drink is prepared using the ground seeds, mixed with other ingredients[46 , 317 , 411 ]. The seeds are mixed with raw rice, roasted pumpkin seeds, lemon peel, sugar, water and ice, and made into a non-alcoholic drink called 'horchata'[301 ]. A bland, relatively stable oil is obtained from the seeds[301 ]. The fruits are sometimes eaten or made into a drink[301 ].

References   More on Edible Uses

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

The fruit is pectoral[310 ]. The pulp is used particularly in the treatment of colds, and for diseases of the kidneys[310 , 331 ]. A decoction of the leaves is employed as an astringent and antihemorrhagic[345 ]. It is much used in the treatment of haemoptysis and dysentery[345 ].

References   More on Medicinal Uses

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Other Uses


The fruit have woody shells which can be used to make cups, containers etc[46 , 331 ]. The shells are smaller and not as good suitable for the production of bowls as the shells obtained from C. Cujete[317 ]. The shells have a very important use in Guatemala for making drinking cups and various other kinds of containers. A fruit cut in half makes two small cups, one of which is carried by almost every Indian pedestrian, often attached to his waist, as a drinking cup[331 ]. There is said to be in Guatemala a form of this tree that bears exceptionally small fruits, little larger than a hen's egg - these small fruits are often used to fashion spinning tops for children[331 ]. A decoction of the leaves is said to promote the growth of hair[411 ]. The wood is used locally for making wagons and other articles[46 , 411 ].

Special Uses

Carbon Farming

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

Management: Standard  New Crop  Staple Crop: Protein-oil

Not known

Carbon Farming

  • Management: Standard  Plants grow to their standard height. Harvest fruit, seeds, or other products. Non-Destructive management systems.
  • New Crop  Most new crops were important wild plants until recently, although some are the result of hybridization. They have been developed in the last few, decades. What they have in common is that they are currently cultivated by farmers. Examples include baobab, argan, and buffalo gourd.
  • Staple Crop: Protein-oil  (16+ percent protein, 16+ percent oil). Annuals include soybeans, peanuts, sunflower seeds. Perennials include seeds, beans, nuts, and fruits such as almond, Brazil nut, pistachio, walnut, hazel, and safou.

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

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Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Dteen-ped-farang, Gourd tree, Jicara, Jicarillo, Morrito, Morro, Music tree, Pohon maja lonjong, Sacaguacal, Tecomate, Winged calabash, Xicara,

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Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Africa, Asia, Belize, Central America, Costa Rica, Egypt, El Salvador, Guam, Guatemala, Honduras, India, Indochina, Indonesia, Mexico, Nicaragua, North Africa, North America, Panama*, Philippines, SE Asia, Thailand

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

None Known

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status : This taxon has not yet been assessed

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther
Crescentia cujeteCalabash TreeTree10.0 10-12 SLMHNM324

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.


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Botanical References

Links / References

For a list of references used on this page please go here
A special thanks to Ken Fern for some of the information used on this page.

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