October 28, 2012

Oh My Gourd! The Pumpkin's Weird Cousin

Pumpkins get all the attention this time of year while the less popular member of the Cucurbitaceae family grows in stranger shapes, colors, and sizes. 

Yes, I'm talking about the gourd! Judging from how tough the insides seem and how strong the outsides are, I'm guessing gourds should be left out of the Wigwam. (I've had some experience with super durable pumpkin shells.

While visiting Janoski's Farm this past week, I found some colorful, oddly shaped gourd examples:gourds


A few interesting gourd facts:

       -Gourds have been grown for over 10,000 years, mainly for ornamental purposes

       -Most are inedible with really tough guts

        -Hardened gourd shells can be used to make utensils, artwork, birdhouses and musical instruments

       -There is an American Gourd Society, which accepts new members for only $15 per year

       -Sad to note, but after 15 years, the Gourd Art Festival had its last showing in 2011

People get awfully creative with gourds...

The Gourdguy has an entire blog dedicated to things he creates out of gourds, including this gem:

On Etsy, Art from Lyn's Heart features an intricate birdhouse:
Gourd Art Birdhouses Birds, Hummingbirds & Flowers

Also on Etsy, Faerie Blue Moon has a gourd rattle:
Gourd Rattle Percussion Instrument Red and Black Meander Design

The American Gourd Society has a large photo gallery with flamingogourds

So give some autumn love to the pumpkin's weird cousin this season!

Related Posts & Links:
Pumpkin Shell Discovery

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