The Other Polynesian Gourd

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1990-04
Authors
Whistler, W Arthur
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University of Hawaii Press
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A review of botanical specimens and ethnographic literature indicates that a small calabash used as a vessel for scented coconut oil in Polynesia before European contact belongs to Benin casa hispida (Thunb.) Cogn., the wax gourd, rather than to Lagenaria siceraria (Molina) Standl., the bottle gourd. Current literature does not mention any use of the edible wax gourd fruit as a calabash. It was also determined that there is no verifiable record of the bottle gourd having been present in western Polynesia before 1965, suggesting that the known occurrence of this species in eastern Polynesia before European contact may be attributed to dispersal from South America rather than from the west as is commonly believed.
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Whistler WA. 1990. The other Polynesian gourd. Pac Sci 44(2): 115-122.
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