A gourd is a fruit from a flowering plant species in the family Cucurbitaceae, there are many species of gourd, some with hard shells and some without. They do vary a lot as most fruits do, some can be very small making the shape of a typical shaker and some can be extremely heavy and large, mainly the variety Zucca melon (the giant gourd.)
Edible gourds include the ones usually referred to as squash, whilst most are only ornamental due to there hard shells, being inedible and not tasting very nice. Pumpkin is also a member of the same family as gourds.
Growing them as a plant can be possible if they are given full sun and rich well-drained soil, they do also grow very quickly and should have some type of support such as a trellis or fence.
Definition of 'Gourd
Typically large fruit with a hard skin, some varieties are edible and some are not.
A climbing or trailing plant which bears gourds.
Others words that could be used instead of gourd to mean the same thing include: Fruit, Pepo, Cucumber, Cucurbit, Melon, Pumpkin, Squash, Fruit vine, Jack-o'-lantern, Calabash, and Bottle gourd.
What can you do with a gourd?
Gourds are wonderful and are extremely multipurpose, they can be used decoratively, functionally as a musical instrument, but can also be burned, carved, painted and stained.
You can even carve pieces out of the dried gourd to make your very own jewellery crafts. A gourd can be made into many types of shaker including a beaded maraca, regular maraca, or shekere, they also make for a good guiro, if you have the skills!
A guiro is a percussive musical instrument that is played by scraping a stick along the blocks indents, whilst this one does not come with a stick it is still beautifully decorated and is a multipurpose guiro gourd rainstick shaker from Peru with the addition of a handwoven strap.
Gourd shakers are traditionally made in West Africa, this percussions instrument is dried, and then has beads attached to a netting that is placed on the outside of the gourd. When the instrument is being shaken, the beads hit the outside which in turns makes for a rhythmic sound. For extra style and also for protection, most handles will have some type of woven band around the neck of the instrument so that you can put your hand through to avoid dropping it and of course to look good!
A more unusual instrument is a thumb piano kalimba made from half a gourd fruit, it has the addition of steel-sprung keys, and the large gourd fruit creates a natural resonance chamber. We love gourds and all of the creative products that can be made from such a wonderful fruit.
There are so many things that can be made from Gourds, and here we highlight the most popular gourd products of all time. If your a fan of the gourd fruit, then stick around and let natures fruits unfold!
Most popular gourd products
This gourd shaker is made from a gourd that has been carved and burnt in Kenya, Africa to depict unusual patterns, looks good, sounds good.
Another shaker? This one is rather different. It doubles as a guiro and this one doesn't have an attached stick, the whole thing is pure gourd.
This gourd kalimba is inspired, made from half a gourd with steel sprung keys, a dot painted design and the wonderful sound that it sings when you pluck. This is the largest version of our thumb pianos, with upgraded sprung steel keys and a large resonating Gourd fruit shell of approx 20cm diameter, sizes and design will vary.
This one has 8-notes that you can play, and experiment with. This fair trade kalimba would make a perfect gift for any passionate musician, its intricate dot pattern is exquisite.
This beaded gourd has been hollowed out which allows it to act as a chamber for amplification. When those beads tap on the hollow gourd, you know this shaker means business.
Fancy a health detox? Gourd tea, or better known as bitter melon tea has made it's way into the health market. It is a natural and pure laxative that can promote healthy digestion but also suppresses appetite which means it can aid in weight loss.
These mini gourds are wonderful for decoration throughout the home. Place them in a bowl or container for a simple addition to your decor. You could even use them to decorate autumn wreathes.
This wonderful gourd has been decorated with an aluminium metal ring on the top and it also comes with a straw. This is the traditional original way to drink "Yerba Mate" which is a caffeine-rich infused drink from Argentina, it's typically consumed by Guaraní and Tupí peoples.
This handmade flute is in the key of C and is easy to learn and play. Made from bamboo canes and natural carved gourd. After you are done playing, you can keep it safe in this special case.
The famous talking stick is made from gourd and is used for rituals and shaman ceremonies. It is extra large (approx. 17" inches), and is made from natural materials by local traditions.