1. The lagenaria, or Bottle Gourd, a native of both Indies, where it grows on the banks of rivers : it has thick, trailing, downy stalks, extending from 10 to 20 feet, and producing large white flowers, which are succeeded by long incurvated fruit of a whitish yellow colour, from 2 to 5 or 6 feet in length, and from 9 to 24 inches in circumference.
2. The Pepo, Pompion, or Common Gourd, which is cultivated in various parts of Germany, but the native soil of which is unknown.— It produces fruit of various shapes and sizes, frequently 18 inches in diameter, and its culture in a tolerable land exposed to the rays of the sun, requires but little trouble. The pulp of the fruit is eaten as an-ingredient in puddings and pancakes. But the most economical' use of this bulky vegetable production, is that of fattening pigs, as-well as carp when thrown into-fish-ponds. For these purposes, extensive fields are devoted to the growth of the Common Gourd in, Bohemia, Saxony, Thuringia, etc. climates which coincide with many parts of Britain, so that this plant certainly deserves to be more generally reared in this country.— Besides, its numerous seeds afford an unusual proportion of expressed oil, amounting to one half of their own weight: when triturated-with water, they yield a cooling and nutritive milk ; and boiled into a jelly, they are said by Bech-stein to be a very efficacious remedy for curing a retention of urine.
3. The verrucosa, or Warted Gourd, which is reared in America as a culinary vegetable : its young fruit is eaten boiled, and frequently mixed with wheaten flower in the baking of bread, to which it imparts a yellow colour, but an agreeable taste.
4. The Mclopepo, Erect Gourd, or Squash. It has a long erect. stalk, several feet in height, which becomes bushy towards the top. It produces a knotty fruit, of a moderate size, and is used like the preceding species.
5. The lignosa, Ligneous-shelled Gourd, or Calabash, which has long trailing stalks, extending along the ground in every direction. Its smooth roundish fruit is provided with hard woody shells.
All these species of the Gourd have several varieties, and the fruit of each frequently changes it form. They are raised from seed, set annually in the month of April, or in the beginning of May. But, if the plants be forwarded in a hot-bed till they are a month old, they will produce fruit six weeks earlier, and mature comparatively sooner. The first species, or Bottle Gourd, however, seldom ripens in Britain without the aid of artificial heat. Hence these plants are in our climate cultivated chiefly for curiosity, but in the East and West Indies, Bottle-Gourds are sold in the markets, and constitute, during the summer months, the principal food of the common people, who boil and season them with vinegar; and, sometimes rilling the shell with rice and meat, prepare a kind of pudding. These shells are employed as flasks for holding water, and likewise converted into spoons, funnels, and even hats. - Lastly, it is remark-able, that the stalks of the different species of the gourd contain a considerable proportion of nitrous particles, and might therefore become useful in the manufacture of sait-petre.