Gourds are believed to be the earlist cultivated species from as early as 10,000 year ago. The peruvian archeologist sites dates 13,000 to 11,000 BC. The gourds have been found in South America as far back as 9000 BC to 7000 BC.
In Peru and Mexico, they were used for tools, containers, cups, scoops, rattles and pipes, floats and much more. when used for food some would heat a rock and put it in the food to heat it up. The gourds are not inedible. Although natives used them to cook in.
Gourds are from the vegetable family, unlike the squash and pumpkin. The gourd shell when dried will get hard and look like wood. The seeds will rattle inside the gourd once it it dried. The amazing fact is the gourd can float in salt water for 300 days without damaging the shell or the seeds inside.
The gourd family species are Cucurbutaceae, particularly Cucurbita and Lagenaria.
The Cucurbitaceae is also called the cucurbits or the gourd family, are a plant family consists of 965 species. Members of the family are annual or perennial herbs native to temperate and tropical areas and include cucumbers, gourds, melons, squash and pumpkins. The Luffas are a part of this family.
The Lagenaria is a genus gourd bearing vines in the squash family. (Cucurbitaceae). Lagenaria contains six species, all of which are indigenous to tropical Africa. The best-known species, the calabash or bottle gourd,
Calabash, (Lagenaria siceraria), also known as bottle gourd, white-flowered gourd, long melon, New Guinea bean and Tasmania bean is a vine grown for its fruit. It can be either harvested young to be consumed as a vegetable, or harvested mature to be dried and used as a utensil.