It's time to vote on our 2017 photo contest! Vote for your favorite photos of the year here!

Calabash Tree

Crescentia cujete

Family: Bignoniaceae (big-no-nih-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Crescentia (kress-EN-tee-uh) (Info)
Species: cujete



Tropicals and Tender Perennials

Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Characteristics:

Flowers are good for cutting

Flowers are good for drying and preserving

This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Flowers are fragrant

Water Requirements:

Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings

Very high moisture needs; suitable for bogs and water gardens

Where to Grow:

Suitable for growing in containers

This plant is suitable for growing indoors


15-20 ft. (4.7-6 m)

20-30 ft. (6-9 m)


Unknown - Tell us


USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun


Seed is poisonous if ingested

Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

All parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Handling plant may cause skin irritation or allergic reaction

Plant has spines or sharp edges; use extreme caution when handling

Pollen may cause allergic reaction


Bloom Color:

Pale Green

Bloom Time:

Unknown - Tell us




Provides winter interest

This plant is fire-retardant

This plant is resistant to deer

Other details:

May be a noxious weed or invasive

This plant may be considered a protected species; check before digging or gathering seeds

Soil pH requirements:

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

7.9 to 8.5 (alkaline)

Patent Information:

Unknown - Tell us

Propagation Methods:

From woody stem cuttings

From semi-hardwood cuttings

Self-sows freely; deadhead if you do not want volunteer seedlings next season

This plant is monocarpic

Seed Collecting:

Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Dunnellon, Florida

Loxahatchee, Florida

Brownsville, Texas

Gardeners' Notes:


On Jul 11, 2015, lat1865 from Sanibel, FL wrote:

I planted calabash (C.cujete) seeds from my Caribbean home island, twenty-eight years ago, here in SW Fl . Alas! I have a gourd. Good ting I brought my own cookware of them with me, as that is what we generally use the fruits for.

There are 3 trees from the effort and two are over 25 feet tall, but with trunks of only about 6 inches. The original tree has a trunk of at least 18-20 inches and exists next to a rural well.

I would like to know more about the growth habits of this tree. How deep do the roots spread, is there a deep tap root? Does anyone have any idea what months they tend to bloom here? I only have the one fruit because I chance to have seen a single flower last year when I played bat with a paintbrush.

This site is only one of... read more


On Sep 13, 2006, BROforest from Brownsville, TX (Zone 9b) wrote:

I had a hard time getting this plant identified in Brownsville, TX. It grows in two or three separate locations around town but none had fruit until this last year. I believe that with the lack of a winter we had in 2005-2006 the trees were finally able to sucessfully flower and fruit. The leaves as in my photo join in a middle point and radiate out like a cross which is unlike some of the other photos of this same tree- cujete. Other sources show C.alata as having these crossed leaves. The fruits turn brown and rock hard and its easy to see why they are so popular for decoration.


On Sep 10, 2003, Monocromatico from Rio de Janeiro,
Brazil (Zone 11) wrote:

The instrument used to give rythim to Capoeira (a brazilian martial art), called "berimbau", uses the dry shell of this fruit cut in a half.

When the tree is loaded with mature fruits, the erect branches bend down, changing the trees shape. Interesting effect, that.


On Jan 24, 2003, bermudiana wrote:

Pretty tree with erect branches and eye-catching oval, hard-shelled fruit which is used for making bird boxes, water scoops and even handbags. The leaves grow directly out of the branches. Low-maintenance.