Family: Bignoniaceae

Latin name: Crescentia cujete

Vernacular name: Huingo

Ethnobotany
Huingo (calabash) produces very large green fruits that have a hard thin shell and soft pulp inside. Reaching the size of a large melon, the shell of the fruits is used for containers, scoops, cups, crafts, and artwork. When canoing, people will use it to bail out water and scoop up a fresh drink as needed. The wood is very hard and stiff. Small branches are fashioned into sticks for use in disciplining children. The stiff wood delivers painful blows to the body and wicked raps across the knuckles.

Agroforestry
Calabash cuttings are selected from productive trees with a desirable fruit size and shape. They are then shoved in the ground. This species requires very humid environments and alluvial soils, preferably flooded conditions. Calabash requires full sun, and grows well in association with Mauritia flexuosa, Myrciaria dubia, Grias peruviana, Spondias mombin, and Genipa americana. It is increasingly cultivated for crafts and artwork.

A huingo tree on the Tahuayo River.

A huingo tree on the Tahuayo River.

Huingo withstands prolonged floods. Note water mark on tree, and river in background.

Huingo withstands prolonged floods. Note water mark on tree, and river in background.

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