Bottle Gourd
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Bottle Gourd
ative Photo: Aarti Khale
Common name: Bottle Gourd, Bitter calbash gourd, Kaippan chura • Hindi: लौकी Lauki • Manipuri: ꯈꯣꯡꯗ꯭ꯔꯨꯝ খোঙদ্ৰুম Khongdrum • Marathi: दूधी Dudhi • Tamil: சுரைக்காய் Surakkai • Malayalam: Pechura • Telugu: Sorakkaya • Kannada: Sorekayi • Bengali: Ladu • Urdu: Lauki • Gujarati: Tumada • Sanskrit: Tiktalabu • Mizo: Um, Um-ei
Botanical name: Lagenaria siceraria    Family: Cucurbitaceae (Pumpkin family)

The bottle gourd is a vigorous, annual, running or climbing vine with large leaves and a lush appearance. It grows fast and may begin to flower only 2 months after seeding. The vine is branched and climbs by means of tendrils along the stem. The foliage is covered with soft hairs and has a foul musky odor when crushed. The leaves of the bottle gourd are up to 15 inches wide, circular in overall shape, with smooth margins, a few broad lobes, or with undulate margins. Leaves have a velvety texture because of the fine hairs, especially on the undersurface. The bottle gourd flowers are borne singly on the axils of the leaves, the males on long peduncles and the females on short peduncles. The flowers are white and attractive, up to 4 inches in diameter, with spreading petals. The ovary is inferior and in the shape of the fruit. Otherwise, the male and female flowers are similar in appearance. The anthers are borne on short filaments grouped at the center of the flower. The stigmas are short, thickened, and branched. The brownish seeds are numerous in a whitish green pulp. Each seed is somewhat rectangular in shape with grooved notches near the attached end.

Identification credit: Aarti Khale Photographed in Maharashtra.

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