This section is from the book "The Standard Cyclopedia Of Horticulture Vol2", by L. H. Bailey. See also: Western Garden Book: More than 8,000 Plants - The Right Plants for Your Climate - Tips from Western Garden Experts.
(after Crescenzi, thirteenth century Italian agricultural writer). Bignoniaceae. This genus is chiefly interesting for the calabash tree, which has no near allies of horticultural importance; yields the calabash fruit.
Fig. 1106. Crescentia Cujete. - The calabash. (X 1/5)
Tropical trees, glabrous: leaves alternate, solitary or clustered at nodes: flowers large, tubular, with a fluted 5-cut limb, yellowish, with red or purple veins; calyx 2-parted or deeply 5-cut. - About 5 species, in Mex. and Cent. Amer. The calabash tree is a native of tropical Amer., is especially familiar in the W. Indies, and can be grown outdoors in extreme S. Fla. and S. Calif. The outer skin of the fruit is removed and the seeds and pulp from within, and the hard woody shell is used for water-gourds and for all sorts of domestic vessels, according to size and shape. The growing fruit can be made to assume various forms by skilful tying. It is a tree 20-40 ft. high, and readily distinguished from all others by its peculiar habit of growth, as it bears large, horizontal, scarcely divided branches, which bear clusters of leaves at intervals. The tree is becoming important in the manufacture of tobacco-pipes.
Cujete, Linn. Fig. 1106. A handsome tree when growing in the open, with wide-spreading well-foliated branches: leaves 4-6 in. long, broadly lanceolate, tapering at the base, dark glossy green: flowers solitary, pendulous; calyx 2-parted; corolla constricted below the middle, and then swollen above, malodorous when decaying; stamens 4, sometimes 5: fruit frequently 18-20 in. through. The growing tree has somewhat the habit of a Burbank plum tree. B.M. 3430. n. Taylor.†