Kalabash is named after the Calabash tree (Crescentia cujete), a native evergreen native to the Caribbean, Africa, Central & South America. It grows up to 8 metres and flowers throughout the year.
Its magnificence really is a sight to behold. When in flower, and later when fruiting the fruit grow directly from nodes on the branches and all over the trunk alongside beautiful wild orchids which germinate and cascade down with their roots exposed to draw moisture from the air.
At night, the Calabash tree produces huge purple-tinged funnel-shaped fragrant flowers which are pollinated by bats.
The flowers fade by noon the following day and are immediately replaced by fresh blooms in time for the bats’ next feed.
If that isn’t enough for one small tree:
The large round gourd-like fruit are inedible and take up to six months to ripen. For centuries these have been decoratively carved and used as water jugs, pipes, spoons, ladles, bowls, musical instruments and more.
The hardwood can be used for making tools, pipes, handles and historically, boats.
The leaves, pulp and bark have medicinal powers.
What a performer! The name sounds nice too – almost musical!