Calabash Tree

Father Ben Nieukey snapped this photo of Uncle Paul and me when we visited him on February 21 this year. It was taken outside his residence at the Little Sisters of the Poor in Lorong Batu Lanchang. He is one jovial figure who is always ready with a smile and some kind words. That is a calabash tree behind us with fruits growing on its trunk and branches. There were several such trees in and outside his compound which were fruiting plentifully.

Father Nieukey explained that the calabash tree (crescentia cujete) originated from South America. This tree can also be found in Central America and the West Indies. It can grow up to twenty five feet in height. The tree produces green coloured spherical fruits about twelve inches to sixteen inches in diameter. It has a woody shell and a pulpy inside. When dry it turns brownish and can be hollowed out to make receptacles, cups, bowls and ladles. Its pulp is believed to contain medicinal properties.

Author: Peter Tan

Peter Gabriel Tan. Penangite residing in the Klang Valley. Blissfully married to Wuan. A LaSallian through and through. Slave to three cats. Wheelchair user since 1984. End-stage renal disease since 2017. Principal Facilitator at Peter Tan Training specialising in Disability Equality Training. Former columnist of Breaking Barriers with The Borneo Post. This blog chronicles my life, thoughts and opinions. Connect with me on Twitter and Facebook.

8 thoughts on “Calabash Tree”

  1. Sweetspirit,
    If I do visit Father Nieukey again, I shall ask him for a few fruits. They are unusual. I might just have a bite of its pulp to see how it tastes like.

  2. Hmm. Never heard of a calabash fruit, but then again I’m pretty blur about this stuff.. :). Do try it anD let us know how it tastes like..

  3. Sashi,
    It is not commonly found here. That was the first time I saw the tree and I was amazed by it. With some creativity, one can make pretty impressive ornaments with the fruit. Sure, I will let you know how it tastes when I get to try one.

  4. i agree with one fr. nieukey is one jovial priest who is always ready with a smile and kind words. he used to be our society of st vincent de paul’s (SSVP) spiritual adviser and never fail to attend our meeting unless he was indisposed. whereas after him, another priest that took over hardly attends our meeting. if you do go visit him again, send him my regards. mention my name and SSVP, he’ll know.

    the name do calabash sounds familiar but i don’t know what in the world it is. well now i know. 🙂

  5. Lucia,
    I sure will convey your regards if I do meet him again. He left a lasting impression in my mind even though I have met him only once. Such is his charisma.

  6. Hello-My husband and I just returned from a visit to Belize in Northern Central America. On a walk one morning, we came across the most amazing fruit tree, the calabash, in the village of Placencia. The native folks told us the fruit is not edible but the outside shell is used to make bowls, drinking cups and musical instruments. The white, soft inside apparently has some medicianl purpose. I have never seen anything like it!!
    Bev Weaver

  7. Bev,
    Thank you for sharing. Your travel there must have been very interesting.

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