Crescentia Alata – Mexican Calabash

Mexican Calabash

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Description

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The Mexican Calabash, one of its many names, is a small handsome tree reaching 25 feet or more. It has a rough bark and typically hosts epiphytes. The canopy is open exposing the wide-spreading upright branches.

Furthermore the dark green leaves are narrow and tapering, up to 8 inches long, with a winged (alata means winged) petiole, borne on the branch alternately or clustered. Also, flowers borne directly on the trunk and branches (cauliflory) are bell-shaped, solitary on a short stalk and to 2 1/2 inches long; the color varies from a yellowish-green to maroon or tan. Flowers are night blooming and bat pollinated.

Fruits are round or oval, 4-5 inches in diameter, smooth, green to purple, becoming yellowish-green at maturity when they fall. They have a very hard shell, containing an edible pulp, and seeds with a licorice-like taste. Seeds are used for propagation. Dried, the shell is durable and can be used as a bowl. This calabash is hardy and can be grown on a range of soil types providing they are well-drained. Beetles are a potential pest.

Finally, the tree is grown as a specimen for its unusual fruits and is suitable for container growth, in parks, along streets and for shade. However, it is a somewhat messy tree during flowering and fruit drop.

Additional information

Common Name

Mexican Calabash

Florida Native

No, Not FL Native

Origin

Costa Rica, Mexico, Mexico & Costa Rica

Flowering Season

All Year

Salt Tolerance

Moderate Salt Tolerance

Drought Tolerance

High Drought Tolerance

Growth Rate

Slow Growth Rate

Light Requirements

Full Sun

Flower Color

Brown

Plant Type

Semi-Deciduous Foliage Tree

Gallons

25 gal., 50 gal., 65 gal., 100 gal., 200 gal., 300 gal.