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Crescentia Cujete (Calabash) is a commonly cultivated tree in its native area of tropical America. This tree name should not be confused with the calabash vine, which bears a similar fruit.
On the contrary it grows to a height of 20-30 feet, it has grey smooth to furrowed bark, is low-branching; limbs are long and spreading giving the tree a broad, irregular crown. Also, branches droop as the tree ages. The dark green alternate evergreen leaves are narrow at the base but broadening toward the tip, and measure 4-8 inches x 2-4 inches. Flowers are cup-shaped, green/yellow to white, about 2 inches wide and are borne singly, emerging directly from the branches (cauliflory). Fruits are oval to round 3-6 inches in diameter, green in color, have a smooth hard shell and contain a fleshy pulp.
Although, one published reference says the fruits are poisonous, there are reports that the pulp has folk medicine use and; besides the fresh seeds are ground and mixed with water for a refreshing drink. The dried hard shell can be cut in two and used as a bowl. In cultivation, Crescentia Cujete (Calabash) prefers well-drained soils; it has no major pests or diseases. Trees benefit from pruning, especially of lower branches.
Calabash is an attractive and interesting tree for growth on lawns, as medians and street plantings, as a specimen tree and near a deck or patio.