Gorlyanka, bottle gourd, common lagenaria, Indian cucumber, Vietnamese zucchini, calabash... This plant has many names and everyone is free to choose what which one you like best. This creeping vine came to us from Africa. This plant is cultivated in subtropical and tropical climates: China, South America and Africa. In our latitudes, the cultivation of such a plant is possible only in greenhouses and greenhouses.
Description and varieties of lagenaria
Such a plant appeared a very long time ago and people immediately liked it because of its decorative properties. It belongs to the pumpkin family, where there are about seven more similar creeping genera. In ancient times, it was not used at all as food. From lagenaria they made durable dishes, toys, various crafts. And even now it is still used for making various souvenirs.
However, in addition to this, the fruits of the bottle gourd also have healing qualities.
Lagenaria has a creeping liana-like stem, large white flowers with a rather unpleasant aroma. Flowers open closer to the night, and are always closed during the day, which creates difficulty with their pollination.
The fruits, depending on the variety, are round, oblong, pear-shaped and oval. They are quite light, and their strong skin does not pass water. The fruits themselves can reach up to two meters in length and up to thirty-two kilograms of weight. One plant produces about ten to fifteen fruits. The leaves of the plant are corrugated, pentagonal in shape.
There are many different varieties of this gourd. The most popular and outlandish are: lagenaria "swan", lagenaria serpentine, bottle lagenaria, "cobra", lagenaria pole-shaped, bottles, "goose in apples", club-shaped lagenaria, "geese-swans", "turban" and others.
Use of bottle gourd
The long-fruited young lagenaria is often used for food, while the more mature fruits are used to make musical instruments, vessels, toys and various crafts. The Indians made smoking pipes from the peel of the plant.
The stems of the creeping plant are often used in weaving, and the seeds are used to make oil.
The taste of bottle gourd is mild, with a slight spicy note and spicy bitterness. Various dishes are prepared with it: desserts, soups, salads and side dishes. Lagenaria can be boiled and fried, stewed and baked, canned and pickled. Steamed and grilled lagenaria works well. Porridges and puree from bottle gourd are extremely popular, and the preparation of caviar and gourmet sauces is almost an art. You can often find stuffed lagenaria. Mushrooms, meat and other vegetables are used as fillings.
The chemical composition of lagenaria is represented by:
- dietary fiber ;
- B vitamins, ascorbic acid, vitamins A and PP ;
- sodium, calcium, iron, potassium and other beneficial minerals.
Thanks to this valuable composition, bottle gourd is widely used in folk medicine. Lagenaria is used for:
- cardiovascular diseases;
- liver disease;
- gastrointestinal pathologies;
- bladder diseases.
This pumpkin is very useful for diabetes and obesity. The systematic use of this vegetable in food contributes to the normalization of metabolic processes and the digestive system.
Petioles and young fruits of the plant are used in folk medicine. Healing ointments, infusions and lotions are made from them. Lagenaria seeds are used as a powerful anthelmintic, and recent studies have shown that it contains substances that slow down the growth and development of malignant tumors.
A large amount of ascorbic acid helps to strengthen the immune system, increases the body's resistance to infections and viruses.
A contraindication to the use of such a creeping gourd is only an individual intolerance to the components that make up the plant.
In addition, lagenaria is often used for grafting cucumbers or watermelons. Such a graft helps the grafted plant to become more powerful, more cold-resistant and give a richer harvest.
Growing and caring for a plant
Under our conditions, such a plant can be grown only with the help of seedlings and only in greenhouses or greenhouses. Calabash grows very quickly with proper care and favorable conditions.
Such a pumpkin will have to be pollinated by hand, since its flowers open only at night, and thus become inaccessible to diurnal insects.
Lagenaria does not like drafts and windy spaces. This is a tropical plant, and therefore it needs a warm climate. Often it is planted near fences or walls of houses.
Usually ready-made seedlings are bought for planting, but it is quite possible to grow them from seeds that need to be soaked for a couple of days in warm water before planting. They are planted to a depth of about three centimeters and covered with a film.
After about a month, the seedlings can be planted in open ground, maintaining a distance between seedlings of about one meter.
As the vegetable grows, secure supports are provided.
Lagenaria is not often sick, sometimes subject to powdery mildew, cucumber mosaic or anthracnose. The soil for planting the plant should be well drained and rich in organic fertilizers.
Fertilizing with mineral and organic fertilizers is carried out every ten days. When the shoots reach four meters, they are usually pinched. When flowering, lagenaria must be pollinated. For one female flower, you need the pollen of three male ones.
Harvest pumpkins about three months after planting, but be sure to before the onset of cold weather. Moreover, it is interesting that the fruits of the plant do not rot if you pinch off a piece and leave them to grow further on the vine.
Instead of conclusions
Lagenaria is one of the exotic varieties of pumpkin, native to tropical latitudes. For its cultivation in our area, greenhouse conditions and good care are required. Such a plant is used for food, and is also used for the manufacture of various crafts, musical instruments and utensils. In addition, bottle gourd is a valuable medicinal product that is widely used in the field of traditional medicine.