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Department of Botany

Since 1980

Crescentia cujete L.



   Botanical NameCrescentia cujete L.
   SynonymsCrescentia acuminata. Kunth.; Crescentia angustifolia Willd. ex Seem.; Crescentia arborea Raf.
   Common NameEnglish: Calabash Tree, Beggar’s Bowl Tree / Tamil: Tiruvottukay
   DistributionGlobal: Central America, South America, Africa and India
Indian: Southern India and Northeast India
   DescriptionSmal evergreen tree up to 10 m height, bark grey, fissured. Leaves simple, entire, oblanceolate, alternate, subsessile. Inflorescence Solitary or paired in trunk. Flowers greenish white or greenish yellow to purplish streaks, pentamerous, bisexual, zygomorphic, hypogynous, calyx 5 lobed, cup shaped, Persistent, petals 5 lobed and each lobed highly dissected at tip, united large. Stamens 4 epipetalous, filament longer, dydenomous. Ovary round conical, glabrous, style curved, stigma bifurcated. Fruit berries with hard woody shell, ovate. Seed small, wingless embedded in pulp.
   Flowering Fruiting periodMay -July / June - September
   UsesDry fruit shell commonly used as bowls and containers. Ornamental in Garden. Seeds yield oil.
   Medicinal UsesPlant used for the treatment of hypertension, diarrhoea, respiratory ailments, stomach troubles, cancer and snake bite.
   Tamil NameTiruvottukkay