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(gôrd, go͝ord), common name for some members of the Cucurbitaceae, a family of plants whose range includes all tropical and subtropical areas and extends into the temperate zones. Almost all members of the family are annual herbs that grow as climbing or prostrate vines with spirally coiled tendrils. The characteristic large and fleshy fruit of many genera is often called a pepo; several genera have dry fruits, some with a single seed. The family is known for its many edible and otherwise useful plants. The name gourd is applied to those whose fruits have hard, durable shells used for ornament and as utensils, e.g., drinking cups, dippers, and bowls. The Old World genus Lagenaria includes the calabash, dipper, and bottle gourds. Luffa cylindrica is the loofah, dishcloth gourd, or vegetable sponge; when the edible fruit—called California okra in the S United States—is bleached dry, the inner fibrous network is used as a filter or a scrubbing sponge. Among the many other gourds are the serpent, or snake, gourd (Trichosanthes anguina) of Indomalaysia, whose slender fruit reaches 6 ft (1.8 m) in length. Many of the edible members of the family have been cultivated for so long—often since prehistoric times—that a single species may include several quite different varieties. Cucurbita includes the pumpkinpumpkin,
common name for the genus Cucurbita of the family Cucurbitaceae (gourd family), a group that includes the pumpkins and squashes—the names may be used interchangeably and without botanical distinction. C.
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, the vegetable marrow, and the summer squashes (all varieties of C. pepo); the winter squashes (varieties of C. maxima); and the crooknecks and the cheese pumpkin (varieties of C. moschata). Cucumis (see melonmelon,
fruit of Cucumis melo, a plant of the family Curcurbitaceae (gourd family) native to Asia and now cultivated extensively in warm regions. There are many varieties, differing in taste, color, and skin texture—e.g.
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) includes the cucumbers (C. sativus) and the gherkins (C. anguria); C. melo includes all melons except the watermelonwatermelon,
plant (Citrullus vulgaris) of the family Curcurbitaceae (gourd family) native to Africa and introduced to America by Africans transported as slaves. Watermelons are now extensively cultivated in the United States and are popular also in S Russia.
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, which, together with the citron, or preserving, melon, is Citrullis vulgaris. Of the few members of the family indigenous to the United States, the colocynth, or bitter-apple (Citrullis colocynthis), yields a powerful laxative from the dried pulp, and the wild balsam apple, or prickly cucumber (Echinocystis lobata), characteristically explodes when ripe, shooting out its seeds—as does the Mediterranean squirting cucumber (Ecballium elaterium). Bryony (two species of Bryonia), cultivated in Central Europe as a cover vine, has long been valued locally for the medicinal properties of its roots. The African genus Dendrosicyos is a unique member of the family in that it grows as a small, bushy tree. Gourds are classified in the division MagnoliophytaMagnoliophyta
, division of the plant kingdom consisting of those organisms commonly called the flowering plants, or angiosperms. The angiosperms have leaves, stems, and roots, and vascular, or conducting, tissue (xylem and phloem).
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, class Magnoliopsida, order Violales, family Cucurbitaceae.


See L. H. Bailey, The Garden of Gourds (1937); U.S. Dept. of Agriculture publications on melons and squash.

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



the fruit of any one of several cultivated plants of the family Cucurbitaceae. Gourds include the cucumber, the musk-melon, the watermelon, and squashes. Among the squashes are the winter squash, the winter crookneck, and the pumpkin (whose varieties include the yellow-flowered gourd and the bush pumpkin). Gourds are cultivated in all continents between 60° N lat. and 35° S lat. In northern regions they are grown in green houses and hothouses.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


1. the fruit of any of various cucurbitaceous or similar plants, esp the bottle gourd and some squashes, whose dried shells are used for ornament, drinking cups, etc.
2. any plant that bears this fruit
3. a bottle or flask made from the dried shell of the bottle gourd
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
Data and source: The input and output data related to bitter gourd production collected by the Department of Environmental and Resource Economics, University of Agriculture, Faisalabad, Pakistan during 2003-04 were used to estimate technical and environmental efficiency.
| An African gourd, far left, and an African drum, left, carved from a section of log, right
Gourds grow like pumpkins and squash in that they like warm weather and lots of fertiliser.
For birdhouses, choose a large, dried gourd. As indicated in Drawing 1, drill a 1" to 1-3/4" hole 6" from the bottom.
New information suggests that these specialty bees handle a hefty share of the pumpkin, squash, and gourd pollination workload in most of the United States.
To make a necklace: When dry, use a small drill bit to drill right through the neck of the little gourd so there is an "in" hole and an "out" hole.
Bombilla & Gourd, Inc., 46 Lydecker Street, Englewood, New Jersey 07631.
Sixth Annual Shingletown Gourd Festival, benefiting the Northern California Burn Foundation Summer Camp.
The author analyzes Georgia Douglas Johnson's Plums, Blue Blood, Bronze, A Sunday Morning in the South, Blue-Eyed Black Boy, and Safe; Zora Neale Hurston's Color Struck, Dust Tracks on a Road (her autobiography), The First One, Jonah's Gourd Vine, Their Eyes Were Watching God, "Spunk," some of her research on voodoo and folklore, and some of her revues; Alice Childress's Wedding Band, Wine in the Wilderness, Trouble in Mind, and Florence; Lorraine Hansberry's A Raisin in the Sun, Les Blancs, The Drinking Gourd, and her memoirs in To Be Young, Gifted and Black, and The Sign in Sidney Brustein's Window, as well as the unfinished Toussaint; Adrienne Kennedy's Funny House of a Negro, The Owl Answers, A Rat's Mass, A Movie Star Has to Star in Black and White, and Sleep Deprivation Chamber.
I was excited to see the article on gourds in the May 2004 issue, having just finished a gourd project with an after-school class.
Sandlady's Gourd Farm is a spot you probably would not find on your own, but it's definitely an "adventure-grade" destination, especially during the annual Gourd Fest August 28-29.
Use wire mesh scouring pads to clean the outside of the gourd in a pail of water.