ancient gourd (Lagenaria)

Larry Elmore ljelmore at
Sat Jun 28 16:00:17 EST 1997

Garry Williams wrote in article <33b4820f.2286472 at>...
>yuku at (Yuri Kuchinsky) wrote:
>>May I remind you also that most of the theories about gourd floating
>>_assume_ that it floated over because it was used as a net flotation
>>device by early fisherfolk. So it must have been a cultigen, or at least
>>cultivar by then. Otherwise, there's still a problem of how did it get
>>the water _in the first place_!
>A storm such as a hurricane? An animal, any animal (including a human)
>simply discarding it uneaten/unused? Growing on a riverbank and
>falling into the water at maturity?

I know studies have shown that gourds can last quite a long time in sea
water, but weren't these tests conducted in tanks of seawater? There's any
number of animals in the sea that might find the gourd a tasty meal, like
the teredo worm loves wood, I think. Has anyone done studies on gourds
actually at sea? Considering some of the truly asinine projects that have
been funded by the government over the years, maybe a well-written grant
proposal could get funding for the dispersal of a million or so tagged
gourds off the African coast while numbers of us spend the next year or so
anxiously cruising the famous beaches of South America and the Caribbean
islands for successful ocean-crossing gourds.... :)

Of course, once the gourd got across, I'm not at all sure how it would get
to a suitable place to germinate. The beach doesn't seem too inviting from
the gourd's point of view. Perhaps carried by a swallow? European or


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