Popular Vegetable In Bangladesh লাউ – (Bottle gourd)
Scientific classification :
Species: L. siceraria
Cucurbita lagenaria (L.)
Lagenaria vulgaris Ser.
The calabash, bottle gourd, or white-flowered gourd,[ Lagenaria siceraria (synonym Lagenaria vulgaris Ser.), also known as opo squash (from Tagalog: upo) or long melon, is a vine grown for its fruit, which can either be harvested young and used as a vegetable, or harvested mature, dried, and used as a bottle, utensil, or pipe. The fresh fruit has a light-green smooth skin and a white flesh. Rounder varieties are called calabash gourds. They grow in a variety of shapes: they can be huge and rounded, small and bottle shaped, or slim and serpentine, more than a metre long. Because bottle gourds are also called “calabashes”, they are sometimes confused with the hard, hollow fruits of the unrelated calabash tree, Crescentia cujete, whose fruits are also used to make utensils, containers, and musical instruments.The gourd was one of the first cultivated plants in the world, grown not primarily for food, but for use as water containers. The bottle gourd may have been carried from Africa to Asia, Europe, and the Americas in the course of human migration,or by seeds floating across the oceans inside the gourd. It has been proven to be in the New World prior to the arrival of ChGourds were cultivated in Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Americas for thousands of years before Columbus’ discovery of America. Historically, in Europe, Walahfrid Strabo (808–849), abbot and poet from Reichenau and advisor to the Carolingian kings, discussed it in his Hortulus as one of the 23 plants of an ideal garden.
Recent research indicates some gourds have an African origin and that there were at least two unrelated domestications: one that occurred 8,000-9,000 years ago, based on the analysis of archeological samples found in Asia, and a second domestication, which occurred 4,000 years ago, traced from archeological discoveries in Egypt.
The mystery of the bottle gourd – namely that this African or Eurasian species was being grown in America over 8,000 years ago – came about from the difficulty in understanding how it came to be in the Americas. The bottle gourd was originally thought to have drifted across the Atlantic Ocean from Africa to North and South America, but genetic research on archeological samples published by the National Academy of Sciences in December 2005 suggested that it may have been domesticated earlier than food crops and livestock, and like dogs, was brought into the New World at the end of the ice age by the native Paleo-Indians. This study showed that gourds found in American archaeological finds appeared closer to Asian variants than to African ones.
In February 2014, the original hypothesis was revived based on a more thorough genetic study. Researchers examined the entire genome, including the plasmid genome, and concluded that American specimens were most closely related to wild African variants and could have drifted over the ocean several or many times as long as 10,000 years ago.
Nowadays, bottle gourds are grown by direct sowing of seeds or transplanting 15- to 20-day-old seedlings. It prefers well-drained, moist, rich soil. It requires plenty of moisture in the growing season and a warm sunny position sheltered from the wind. It is cultivated in small places such as in a pot, spread on a trellis or roof. In rural areas, many houses with thatched roofs are found covered with the gourd vines. Bottle gourds grow very rapidly and their stems can reach a length of 9 m in the summer, so they need a solid support to climb by the pole or trellis along the stem. If planted under a tall tree, the vine can grow up to the top of the tree. To get more fruit, sometimes farmers cut off the tip of the vine when it has grown to 6–8 feet long. This forces the plant to produce side branches that produce fruit much sooner and more flowers and more fruit. The plant produces white flowers. The male flowers have long peduncles and the females have short ones with an ovary of the shape of the fruit. Sometimes, the female flowers drop off without growing into a gourd due to the failure of pollination if no bee activity occurs in the garden area. To solve the problem, hand pollination can be used.
Crops are ready for harvest within two months; yield ranges from 35–40 m tons/ha.ristopher Columbus.