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Lagenaria siceraria (Molina) Standley

Lagenaria siceraria (Molina) Standley




Cucurbita lagenaria L., Lage­naria vulgaris Seringe, Lagenaria leucantha Rusby.

Vernacular Names


Labu botol.


Bottle gourd, calabash gourd, white-flowered gourd.


Labu air, labu putih, kukuk (West Java).

Papua New Guinea

Sel kambang, botol wara.


Upo (Tagalog), tabungaw (Ilocano), kalubay (Bisaya).     




Namz taux.


Namtao (Central), manamtao (Northern), khi-Iuu-saa (Karen).


B[aa] [uf].


Calebasse, courge bouteille.

Geographical Distributions

Lagenaria siceraria probably originated in tropical Africa and now has pantropical distribution. It could have been spread by ocean currents to the shores of the New World. More than 10,000 year-old archeologi­cal records of its association with man exist in both hemispheres. It is the only crop known to have been cultivated in pre-Columbian times in both the Old and the New World.


Lagenaria siceraria is a monoecious annual vine with a long ribbed stem and strong tendrils. Tendrils are usually bifid with one long and one shorter branch. The petioles are up to 20 cm long.

The leaves are arranged alternate, simple, ovate-kidney-shaped or suborbicular, measure up to 30 cm in diametre, undivided or obscurely 5-9-lobed, dentate, pubescent and musky-scented.

The flowers are axil­lary, solitary, white and measure up to 12 cm in diametre. The sepal is bell-shaped and 5-lobed. There are 5 free petals. The male flowers are on long pedicels which are 5-25 cm long. The stamens are with 3 free filaments, and with anthers lightly cohering but not connate. The female flowers are on short pedicels which are 2-7 cm long. The ovary is with 3 placentae and numer­ous ovules. It is completely clothed with white gland-­tipped hairs, with 3 stigmas, thick and bilobed.

The fruit is a pe­po, which is very variable in size and shape, often globular, bottle-or club-shaped, measures up to 1 m long or more and with hard durable rind. Its flesh is white and soft.

The seed is 10-25 mm long, corky, broad and flat, or narrow and two-pronged, whitish or brownish.

Ecology / Cultivation

Lagenaria siceraria can be grown year-round from sea level up to 1600 m altitude, but the veg­etable types are most common in the hot and hu­mid lowlands. It tolerates cool but frost-free tem­peratures. Short days promote flower formation but have no effect on sex expression. Soils should be light and well-drained, and with pH 6-7.

Line Drawing / Photograph



  1. Plant Resources of South-East Asia No. 8: Vegetables.

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