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A half‐hardy trailing plant (Lagenaria siceraria) which produces a large bulbous fruit. There are various kinds of gourd, including the marrow and the pumpkin. The rind of the bottle gourd is hard and when dried can be used to make water containers or musical instruments. Thought to be of African origin, but also found widely in the Americas, southern Asia, and the Pacific Islands. How gourds arrived in the New World is a puzzling problem, but they are present in South America by c.7000 bc. One possibility is that some fruits arrived by floating across the Atlantic. Certainly gourds remain viable after immersion in salt water for several weeks.

Subjects: Medicine and Health.

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