The gourd is an annual climber and has been grown for thousands of years. Probably originating in Northern India it is still of great importance because of the unripe, edible fruits and for the very useful and decorative, dried shells of ripe fruits. Today gourds are grown universally in vast tracts of Asia, Africa and South America. There are several variants of more or less palatable fruits.
The dried fruits, of varying size and shape, are used for instance for instruments, household utensils like plates, bowls and cups, lamps, vases, birds nests, toys and decorations.
Gourds are, together with cucumbers, melons, pumpkins, marrows and squashes, the most commonly grown plants of the gourd family.
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