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Lagenaria - (Molina.)Standl.

Common Name Bottle Gourd
Family Cucurbitaceae
USDA hardiness 10-12
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Not known in the wild.
Range A widely cultivated plant, its original habitat is obscure, though it is probably Asia or Africa.
Edibility Rating    (3 of 5)
Other Uses    (5 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (2 of 5)
Care (info)
Tender Moist Soil Full sun
Lagenaria Bottle Gourd
Lagenaria Bottle Gourd


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Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of flower
Lagenaria is a ANNUAL CLIMBER growing to 9 m (29ft 6in) at a fast rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 10 and is frost tender. It is in flower from August to September. The species is monoecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but both sexes can be found on the same plant) and is pollinated by Insects.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


L. vulgaris.


Edible Uses

Immature fruit - cooked and used as a vegetable[2, 27, 200]. They can be boiled, steamed, fried, used in curries or made into fritters[183]. Of variable quality, but some of the selected cultivars from India and China are of very good quality, equivalent to good summer squashes[183]. The pulp around the seed is purgative and should not be eaten[46]. The fruit can be dried for later use[86]. Leaves and young shoots - cooked and used as a potherb[178, 183]. Seed - cooked. Rich in oil, it is added to soups etc[183]. A vegetable curd, similar to tofu, can be made from the seed[183]. An edible oil is obtained from the seed. It is used for cooking[177, 183]. Yields of up to 45% have been obtained[240].


Medicinal Uses

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The pulp around the seed is emetic and purgative[46, 178, 272]. A poultice of the crushed leaves has been applied to the head to treat headaches[257]. The flowers are an antidote to poison[218]. The stem bark and the rind of the fruit are diuretic[218]. The fruit is antilithic, diuretic, emetic and refrigerant[178, 218]. The juice of the fruit is used in the treatment of stomach acidity, indigestion and ulcers[272]. The seed is vermifuge[218]. A poultice of the boiled seeds has been used in the treatment of boils[257]. Taken with Achyranthes spp the seed is used to treat aching teeth and gums, boils etc[218]. Extracts of the plant have shown antibiotic activity[218]. In many parts of China 3 grams per day of this species (the report does not say what part of the plant) has been used as a single treatment for diabetes mellitus[218].


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Other Uses

The shell of well-ripened fruits is very hard and can be used for many purposes such as bottles, bowls, musical instruments etc. There are many different shapes of fruits from the various different varieties[1, 27, 46, 61, 86, 97].

Special Uses


Cultivation details

Prefers a well-drained moist good rich circumneutral soil[1, 27, 86, 200]. Requires plenty of moisture in the growing season[1]. Prefers a warm sunny position sheltered from the wind[86]. The bottle gourd is widely cultivated in the tropics and sub-tropics for its edible fruit and for the hard wooden shell of the fruit that can be used as containers, musical instruments etc[206], there are many named varieties with different shaped and sized fruits[86, 183, 206]. The variety 'Cougourda' is said to be the best for eating[132]. Forms with wooden shells tend not to have an edible flesh[206]. The plants are frost-tender annuals, they grow very rapidly and their stems can reach a length of 9 metres in the summer[86]. A warm summer is required for good production of the fruit[86]. British summers are often too cool for this species and obtaining a crop from outdoor-grown plants in this country is somewhat problematical. The best chance is by starting the plants off early in a warm greenhouse, growing them on fast and then planting them out as soon as possible but making sure that they are not checked by cold weather. Hand pollination of the fruits can increase fruit set[206]. A climbing plant, attaching itself to supports by means of tendrils that grow out of the leaf axils[206]. It can be used as a fast-growing summer screen. The leaves have a strong musky scent that some people find repulsive[206]. The plant is remarkably disease and pest-free, this might be connected to the smell of the leaves[206].


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Seed - sow spring in a greenhouse in a rich soil, putting 2 - 3 seeds in a pot and thinning to the strongest plant. Grow on fast and plant out as soon as possible after the last expected frosts, giving some protection until the plants are established and growing well. The seed germinates best at 25°c[86]. Soaking the seeds for 12 hours in warm water prior to sowing can hasten germination[86]. Discard any seeds that have not germinated after 10 days, the plants they produce will not be vigorous enough to succeed outdoors in Britain[86].

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Bottle Gourd, Alabu, Bak, Bau, Bhopala, Bogalau, Cabaca, Calabash gourd, Calabaza, Core, Crockneck gourd, Didi, Diya labu, Doodhi, Dudhi, Dudhiva, Dudhya, Ekiryo, Eparra, Fahandu, Footi, Ghia, Ghiba, Ghiya, Halagumbala, Hu lu gua, Ikhomane, Kaddu, Kalabas, Khil, Klook, Kwa-kwa, Labu air, Lami-core, Lau, Lauka, Lauki, Louki, Milau, Mirandjo-lo, Naam tao, Omparsa, Opo, Orde, Pucuo, Shorakkai, Sorekayi, Sorrakaya, Tearau, Trumpet Gourd, Tumada, Tumri, Um, Undugue, Upo, Vago, White-flower gourd, Yuugao,

Found In

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

Africa, Angola, Asia, Australia, Bangladesh, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Central Africa, Central African Republic, Chad, Chile, China, Congo DR, Costa Rica, Côte d'Ivoire, East Africa, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Fiji, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guiana, Guinea, Guinée, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, Hawaii, India, Indochina, Indonesia, Ivory Coast, Japan, Kenya, Korea, Laos, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Mozambique, Namibia, Nepal, New Zealand, Niger, Nigeria, North Africa, North America, Northeastern India, Pacific, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, PNG, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Rwanda, SE Asia, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Solomon Islands, Somalia, South Africa, Southern Africa, South America, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Swaziland, Taiwan, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Thailand, Togo, Uganda, USA, Vanuatu, Venezuela, Vietnam, West Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe*,

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.

Conservation Status

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

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther
Lagenaria sicerariaBottle GourdAnnual Climber9.0 10-12 FLMHNM325

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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A special thanks to Ken Fern for some of the information used on this page.

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