CALABASH – TREE OF MANY USES
The Calabash tree is the national tree of St. Lucia and can be found many places around this island. One of those places is Calabash Mountain Villa. We chose the name of this Villa based on its significance in St. Lucia and because of the tree’s presence on this property (we have about five on property.) The Calabash tree is a lovely tree and adds to the beauty of our property. It also provides a nice conversation piece for our guests. The tree grows to about 40 feet tall, produces a large spherical fruit with a hard shell and soft pulp. The sphere can grow up to 20 inches in diameter. The pulp is whitish with thin brown seeds. The tree also has flowers with light green petals and purple streaks that come together in a funnel shape. An interesting fact about this tree is that the flowers bloom at night on the trunk and branches after being pollinated by bats.
You might expect the tree would be a food source, having been elevated to such prominence. However, it is the overall utility of the tree and the fact that it’s plentiful, that elevated it to the national tree status.
So, how is the tree useful? The calabash fruit pulp is used medicinally for cough medicine, laxative, healing skin problems and bruising, asthma and other respiratory problems. The shell is used as bowls, scoops, cups, musical instruments, and as an ornament. The wood of the Calabash tree is said to cure ear aches and reduce fever. The leaves are used in blood pressure medicine. Of course, people with health issues should consult qualified medical professionals for their problems and direction for use of the calabash as a remedy.
The Calabash tree is a lovely tree and adds to the beauty of our property. It also provides a nice conversation piece for our guests.