BOTTLE GOURD: Introduction, Characteristics, Origin, Evolution, Harvesting, Diseases, and Control measures

BOTTLE GOURD: Introduction, Characteristics, Origin, Evolution, Harvesting, Diseases, and Control measures


One of the most significant cucurbitaceous vegetables growing in tropical and subtropical regions of the world is the bottle gourd (Lagenaria siceraria (Mol.) Standl.), sometimes referred to as calabash. The term “bottle gourd” might have originated from fully ripened fruits that were utilized as bottles, utensils, or pipes. The word “calabaza,” which is used in Spanish, is thought to have originated from either the pre-Roman Iberian word “calapaccia” or the Arabic word “qar’a yabisa,” which means “dry gourd.” In India, it is referred to as Lauki, Ghia, Doodhi, or Al; in France, Cucuzza, Flaschenkurbis, Cojombro, Guiro, or Amargo; and in Spain, Lauki, Ghia, Doodhi, or Al. It is typically cultivated for its tender fruits, which have 96.1 g of water, 2.5 g of carbohydrates, 0.6 g of fibre, 0.5 g of minerals, 0.2 g of protein, and 0.1 g of fat per 100 g of the fruit’s edible sections (Gopalan et al., 1982). In particular, during the summer, bottle gourd avoids excessive salt loss and lessens weariness. Being low in calories, it is a healthy diet for those with diabetes and jaundice. The fruits are utilized as diuretic, expectorant, cardiotonic, aphrodisiac, analgesic, anti-inflammatory, hepatoprotective, and antioxidant agents (Ghule et al., 2009 Mohan et al., 2012). Making storage jars, kitchenware, and musical instruments with ripe dried fruits are common practice (Decker-Walters et al., 2001). It is frequently grown in tropical Africa, Brazil, Colombia, India, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines.

Bottle gourd

It is a herb that is widely cultivated in tropical nations like India. Unripe fruit is frequently consumed as a vegetable (Ghule et al., 2009). In India, traditional medicine is frequently used. Traditional healers recommend bottle gourd fruit juice for flatulence, diabetes mellitus, hypertension, and liver illnesses, and as a diuretic (Ghule et al., 2007). Freshly made juice is frequently consumed in India on an empty stomach and is a common practice in complementary and alternative medicines. Although bottle gourd extracts have been shown to have some positive benefits in animal models (Deshpande et al., 2008), there isn’t much research on humans. On the other hand, Puri et al. (2011) found that drinking bottle gourd juice, especially if it is bitter, can have some major negative effects.


Kingdom: Plantae

Order: Cucurbitales

Family: Cucurbitaceae

Genus: Lagenaria

Species: L. siceraria

Scientific Name: Lagenaria siceraria

Common Name: Calabash,  bottle gourd, white-flowered gourd, long melon, birdhouse gourd, New Guinea bean, Tasmania bean, and opo squash,


Lagenaria siceraria (Mol.) Standl. (2n = 22) is a kind of bottle gourd. (Lauki in Hindi)

1. A climbing annual with a 3 1/2 to 4-month lifespan is the bottle gourd.

2. India has a large bottle gourd farming industry, and the fruits are accessible all year round.

3. Due to the fruit’s bottle-like form and historical use as a container, the bottle gourd got its name.

4. They are lone, chalky white, and only bloom at night.

5. Fruits that are still in their tender stages are utilized to make pickles, desserts, and prepared vegetables. Fruits range in size and form and are meaty.

6. Mature fruit shells are utilized as water jugs, household items, fishing net floats, and other things. It is simple to digest as a vegetable.

7. It is a diuretic, has a cooling effect, and is cardiotonic.

8. Fruit pulp is effective at preventing constipation, night blindness, and coughing as well as acting as an antidote to several poisons.

9. For the treatment of jaundice, a leaf decoction is taken.

10. Dropsy makes use of seeds.

Origin and Evolution

According to Purseglove (1974), the bottle gourd is one of the oldest tropical crops and is a native of Africa (Whitaker, 1971; Chakravarty, 1982; Heiser, 1979).

It is believed that humans first used bottle gourds as a vegetable, water container, musical instrument, and medicinal plant about 15000 years ago in the New World and 10000 years ago in the Old World (Richardson, 1972). Though autonomous domestication in both old and new world nations was evidenced by the pantropical dispersion (Harris, 1967; Erickson et al., 2005). Following independent domestication, morphological studies and archaeological data revealed that wild bottle gourd fruits from Africa were transported over the ocean to other regions of the world. Europeans have traditionally used bottle gourds of the Asian variety (Emina et al., 2012). It was thought to have come to the Americas from Asia rather than Africa (Erickson et al., 2005). It was discovered that the Polynesian bottle gourd has two origins. Molecular markers demonstrated that nuclear alleles originated in the Americas and Asia, but chloroplast alleles were only found in Asia (Clarke et al., 2006).

Bottle gourds were existing in East Asia 7000 years ago, but it is unclear how far south they traveled during prehistory (Chang, 1986; Smith, 2005). According to Green (2000), the Southeast Asian bottle gourd, which reaches Vanuatu in the extreme east, may have only recently arrived from India around 200 B.C. (Yen, 1973). The bottle gourd’s gap in Western Polynesia proves that human-mediated dispersal was not used to get it from Asia into Polynesia (Whistler, 1990).

Climate and Soil

The Bottle gourd has a short growing season and is vulnerable to frost. Its germination performs best between 25 and 30°C and suffers badly below 15°C. For the plant to grow, the ideal daytime temperature range is between 25 and 35 degrees Celsius. More pistillate blooms are emerging in bottle gourds as the temperature drops, and the opposite is also true (Bose and Ghosh, 1970). Although it can often withstand a wide range of rainfall, higher growth results from moderate rainfall and lots of sunshine. Diseases and insect pests are more common in areas that receive a lot of rain. Although it may be cultivated in a variety of soils, sandy to loamy soils with good drainage are best for cultivation. Growth is most favorable in the pH range of 6-7, while acidic and alkaline circumstances have the opposite effects. Additionally, bottle gourd development benefited from the light reduction of up to 50% PAR (Haque et al., 2009). In temperate locations, bottle gourd is grown in glass houses with controlled environments. Fruit weight, yield, and other vegetative characteristics rose when carbon dioxide was applied at 1000 mum/mol inside protected structures (Zhu et al., 2002).

Land Preparation and Sowing

The Bottle gourd seed should be sown in a field that has been properly prepared. Wilt and nematodes are kept at bay by soil solarization during the hot summer months and the use of carbofuran at a rate of 25 kg/ha. In open fields, bottle gourd can be grown all year long in central and southern India, although it is sown in the north of the country in February, March, and June, July. A “Sarkanda” (Saccharum spp.) or polythene tunnel is needed to protect from low temperatures and frost the winter crop that was sown in November. For one hectare, 3–4 kg of seed is required. The germination of seeds is improved by soaking them in water for 24 hours. A seven-day dry heat treatment at 70°C examines the prevalence of Fusarium wilt (Lee, 2004). However, in Japan, a 7-day dry heat treatment at 85°C entirely eradicates the bacterial fruit blotch (Kubota et al., 2012). In India, the bottle gourd crop is produced in the spring and summer on flat beds with vines permitted to creep on the ground; however, the rainy season crop must be planted in raised beds or trained to climb over trellises to prevent water from coming into contact with developing fruits. In raised bed agriculture, 2-3 m-distance furrows with a width of 50–60 cm are formed. Two to three seeds per hill are sown on either side of the bed, 60 cm apart. In the pit system, pits of 45 x 45 x 45 cm are created and equally filled with topsoil and farmyard waste. These pits are sown with 4-5 seeds per pit, and they are spaced 1.5–2.0 m apart. For improved seedling emergence, the seeds are sown vertically at a depth of 2 to 3 cm. The vines can be trained over 1.5- to 2.0-meter-high trellises, arbours, or pandals. The vines are trained over thatches, huts, walls, fencing, trees, etc. in tiny homestead gardens. To aid with drainage, seeds are sown in the middle of mounds in places that receive a lot of rain. During the winter months of November to February, especially in north and northwestern India, bottle gourd is cultivated under subpar conditions in riverbed agriculture, a type of vegetable forcing. In this approach, pits or trenches with a depth of 0.6-0.75 m are dug in an east-west orientation while keeping a spacing of 2-3 m between the rows. Farmyard manure or decomposed trash is piled into trenches before seeding. During December and January, Sarkanda grass (Saccharum spp.) is erected at a 75° angle on the northern side of the trench to provide shelter from frost or freezing winds. Plants are irrigated until their root systems are well-established and reach the riverbed’s water regime. The methods of nursery growing in the bottle gourd involve sowing seeds in the middle of January and raising the nursery in polythene bags (100 gauge thickness) of 15 10 sizes or plug trays. The field must be sown with seedlings grown using this method at the 2-3 leaf stage.

Manure and Fertilizer

When preparing the field, add 10 ISt of FYM manure per hectare. When planting, PK @100:60:60 kg/ha should be used.


The bottle gourd fruits should be picked when they are still young and green because otherwise, the hard seeds and harsh, dry skin would not be enjoyable to eat or sell for much money. It takes between 60 and 80 days after seeding for the first harvest, depending on the type and growing season. Fruits should be carefully cut from the vine with a knife once they reach a marketable size. Picking the fruits within three days of the skin’s tiny hairs falling out is preferred. Picking should be done every three to four days during peak season. The best times to harvest are early in the day or late at night. The fruit’s skin shouldn’t have any bruises or scratches from handling. It results in browning and reduces market value. A cushion of soft material, such as paper, soft grass, or any other packing material, should be placed between the fruits when packaging them appropriately. The collected fruits can be chilled for 5–6 days or misted with water every 4-5 hours. Waxing and Benomyl therapy can lengthen the shelf life. Bottle gourds were discovered to be the best fruit packaging material for polyethylene bags (100 gauge and 2% vent) and CFB boxes (Patil et al., 2010)


Powdery mildew (Sphaerotheca fuliginea and Erysiphe cichoracearum)

These two fungi from the Erysiphaceae family are responsible for cucurbit powdery mildew. Mycelium is septate hyaline, superficial, and contains uninucleate cells in both species. S. fuliginea’s surface growth is reddish brown, while that of E. cichoracearum is white. Temperature, air humidity, and host plant age all have a significant impact on fungus. Quite young leaves are almost immune, however, leaves between 16 and 23 days old are very vulnerable. The fungus can produce spores and spread infection in both a very dry and a wet environment. Conidial development and host penetration require temperatures between 10°C and 32°C, respectively, with the ideal range being between 26°C and 28°C (Singh, 1999). It develops on leaves and green stems and is identified by the development of small, dirty-gray to white patches that become powdery as they grow in size. Eventually, the visible powdery mass will cover the host’s whole green surface. Plant tissue initially seems normal, but eventually turns brown and dries up. Undersized and malformed fruits as well as premature defoliation and vine mortality are all results of the severe illness. In addition to burning sick crop debris, it can be controlled by limiting the growth of cucurbitaceous weeds or crops around the area.

Control measures

1. Gathering and burning every leaf that is contaminated. 2. Spray the crop three to four times, spaced by 15 days, with Bavistin, Benlate, Topsin M, or tridemorph at 1g per litre of water. 3. To properly control the illness, use two sprays of 0.1% Bavistin, followed by two sprays of 0.1% Karathane or Tridemorph.

Downy mildew (Pseudoperonospora cubensis)

The ideal temperature for this fungus’s germination and infection is 20°C. At 10-15°C rather than 30-35°C, zoospores are motile for a longer time. Small water-soaked sores on the leaves are the first audible signs of the condition. These patches are angular, yellow, and frequently constrained on the upper surface by veins. In humid temperatures, a purplish downy growth can be seen on the lower side of these areas. Veins become blighted, lesions develop brown in the centre, and eventually, the plant dies. The core leaves are typically attacked first, then the other leaves. On the bottom surface rather than the upper, the infection happens more frequently. On diseased vines, the fruits are scarce, tiny, and of poor quality.

Control measures

Using well-drained soil and spacing the crop farther apart. 2. Observing cleanliness practices, preventing flood irrigation, and rotating crops. 3. Remove sick leaves and spray the crop with 0.25% Mancozeb, 0.3% Ridomil MZ, or Aliette. Effective disease control requires 3–4 treatments spaced 10 days apart. 4. Two sprays of 0.25 percent Fosetyl Al, cyamoxinil-mancozeb, or metalaxylmancozeb given 10 days apart effectively control the condition.

Anthracnose [Colletotrichum lagenarium (Pass.) Ellis and Halsted]

The ideal conditions for the development of the disease are 25°C and 100% RH for 18 hours. The fungus is primarily soil-born, but if fruits are affected, it can also spread through seeds. On the petioles and stem, lesions in the form of black spindle shapes developed. While on fruits, circular water soaks lesions of varying sizes developed based on the age of the plant and the climate. When the fruit reaches maturity, anthracnose is its most noticeable feature. Fruits have large, roughly round areas that are water-soaked, sunken, and have dark borders. When the weather is humid, black stomata with pink masses of spores can be seen at the spot’s centre. The lesions may also include red, sticky exudates.

Control measures

1. Seeds from plants that are free of disease are collected. 2. Rotation of crops, appropriate drainage, eradication of natural hosts, and seed treatment with Bavistin or Benlate (2.5 g/kg). 3. The disease can be controlled well by removing the affected leaves and spraying the crop three to four times, separated by ten days, with 0.10% carbendazim, 0.05% hexaconazole, or 0.40% benlate.

Collar rot (Rhizoctonia solani)

Brown to dark brown lesions on the stem at the soil level is one of the fungal disease’s symptoms, which dampens off the plants. The fungus kills seedlings both before and after emergence.

Control measures

1. after a protracted crop rotation with crops other than the hosts. 2. Treatment of seeds with Bavistin 1.0 g + Thiram 2.5 g per kg of seeds. 3. 0.2% Brassicol should be applied to the soil near the root zone.

Fusarium wilt (Fusarium oxysporum f.sp. lagenariae)

The cotyledons started to drop, which was followed by the young plants wilting. Older plants’ leaves abruptly dry off, which causes the plant to eventually die.

Control measures

1. Use healthy, disease-free seeds. 2. dirt is soaked in 0.2 to 0.3% captan.

Training and pruning

Proper training and pruning are beneficial because bottle gourd produces strong vegetative growth. Plants that have been trained to bower can use the sun’s energy more efficiently, and yields of up to 80 t/ha have been recorded. Up until the vines reach bower height, axillary buds of growing vines should be removed. The apical bud is removed at 10-15 cm below the bower when the vine reaches it to allow 2 or 3 branches to spread on the bower. After the development of 4-5 fruits, the vines are once more pruned, allowing only 2-3 axillary buds to develop on the primary vines. It’s also a good idea to get rid of any older, pale-colored, or yellowish leaves that are near the bottom.

Multiple Type Questions

1) The bottle gourd is indigenous to

1. Asia, 2. Java, 3. India, 4. Europe.

2) The following vegetables are utilized as household utensils after drying:

1. Pumpkin, 2. Bottle Gourd, 3. Sanke Gourd, 4. Watermelon

3) Which of the following cucurbits is the most drought-resistant crop? 1. Pumpkin, 2. bottle gourd, 3. cucumber, 4. Japan.

4) The average yield of bottle gourd ranges from ________ t/ha for the following options:

1. 5–10, 2. 10–20, 3. 25–30, 4. 40–50.

5) The bottle gourd’s maturity indices are:

a) higher pubescence; b) less pubescence; c) fruit turning light green; d) fruit turning dark green.

Frequently Asked Questions

Question: Is bottle gourd good for health?

Ans: Yes

Question: What is the English name of bottle gourd?

Ans: white-flowered gourd or calabash gourd,

Question: Can you eat gourds?

Ans: Yes

Question: Can gourd be eaten raw?

Ans: No

Question: Does bottle gourd purify the blood?

Ans: Yes

Question: Can I eat lauki daily?

Ans: Yes

Question: What are the benefits of eating gourds?

Ans: Gourds are a rich source of insoluble fibre, which aids in digestion and supports normal cholesterol levels (soluble fiber). Boost immunity: Having a strong immune system is always beneficial, but this is true all the more in the winter when it seems like everyone is sick.

Question: Is gourd good for the liver?

Ans: Yes

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