Today’s Belize Photo of the Day is the Calabash and its scientific name is the Crescentia cujete. This small evergreen tropical tree belongs to the family of Bignoniaceae and is known to originate from Central America.
The trees grow wildly in Belize and are commonly spotted in large nature reserves including Chaa Creek.
The Calabash tree grows up to 25 feet in height and produces fruits of up to 25cm in diameter and every evening at around 6pm, the tree blooms and emits a strong odor that attracts fruit bats. These nocturnal creatures then pollinate the flowers and by noon the next day it withers away.
Its bright green globular, gourd-like fruits are what make this tropical shrub interesting and many indigenous cultures have used the dry fruits for culinary utensils, food storage and ornamentals.
Today several gift shops in Belize display and sell fine works made from the calabash fruit.
The pulp of the crop holds medicinal properties which act as medicine to treat respiratory problems, stomach aches and to reduce high blood pressure.
Photo taken by Naturalist Guide: Meshack Eliah