Saturday, January 7, 2012

Nature’s bowl

Life continues...

After the devastating Thane cyclone,  our workshop reopened on Monday, January 2. 
We continue to work on new products. The latest is the fruit of the Calabash tree.

Botanical name: Crescentia spp. Bignoniaceae
The genus Crescentia is distributed with 5 species in the tropics of Middle America.  Best known is Crescentia cujete (English: Calabash Tree) with its undivided, rounded leaves broadened at the tip.  It is cultivated a lot.
Very common is also Crescentia alata with three-lobed finger form leaf and winged leaf stalk.  Both species reach 8-10 m in height, having a trunk with flaking bark.  On the branches and young stems appear the inwardly carved, broad tubular, brownish – red flowers (cauliflory) which bloom for just one night and are pollinated by bats.
From the ovary which has two parts a spherical to ellipsoidal fruit capsule develops, often nearly head-sized.  The fruit contains a pulpy tissue in which numerous flattened eatable seeds are embedded.
The dried fruit capsules are used in various ways, such as jazz rattles, colourfully painted and carved as ornaments or cut in half as drinking bowls.  For the American Indians the fruits had a special meaning.
The plant is named after the Bolognese Petrus de Crescentia (1230-1320)
At Shradhanjali we scrape, scrub and clean the Crescentia alata fruit for a multipurpose natural bowl.


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