Species Detail

Lagenaria siceraria Molina Standl.
Bottle Gourd

Scientific Name:  
Lagenaria siceraria Molina Standl.
Common Name:  
Bottle Gourd
Myaamia Name:  
Medicinal, Customs, Technology
Harvest Seasons:  
Summer, Fall
Human-Disturbed Areas
Growth Forms:  
Vine, Cultivated

Myaamia Archival Sources  
Lagenaria siceraria Molina Standl.
Reference Source Reference Type Archival Data Comments
No Reference Specified Use - Medicinal  gourd rattle of medicine men. "After thorough inspection [of the ailing person]; he returns home to get some of his medicine and his chichicoya; a little gourd from which the inside has been removed and into which they put some grains of little glass pearl; and they run a stick through it from the top to the bottom; letting one end project a foot to hold it by. This; when shaken; makes a loud noise. From a little bag in which he has a quantity of small packages; he takes out some pieces of tanned skin in which are his medicaments. After spreading them out; he takes up his gourd and shakes it; intoning at the top of his voice a son in which he says: "The buffalo or the buck; according to his manitou has revealed this remedy to me and has told me that it was good for such and such a malady"--and he names the one by which the sick man is attacked--"whoever has it administered to him will be healed." He reiterates this sometimes for half an hour; though often the patient has not slept for a whole week. . . . When he perceives any improvement; he brings his ourd and sings louder than the first time; asserting in his song that his manitou is the true manitou; who has never lied to him . . . [after more of the medicine mans procedure] . . . Then in a long song he thanks his manitou with his chichicoya for making it possible for him frequently to obtain merchandise through his favor."
No Reference Specified Use - Medicinal  ceremony to instill faith in healing powers of medicine man; uses chichicoya to wave while addressing village assembly; "My friends; today you must manifest to men the power of our medicine so as to make them understand that they live only as long as we wish" and then shaking the chichicoya while chanting "This buffalo has told me this; the bear; the wolf; the buck; the big tail" then they show men who have been healed by them
No Reference Specified Use - Customs  pre-war singing with gourd rattle
No Reference Specified Use - Customs  honoring another nation. " . . .they take him up on this scaffold and all place themselves beside him and beat drums and shake their chichicoya and sing all day long"
No Reference Specified Use - Customs  pre-war singing. "they invite them to a feast and tell them that the time is approaching to go in search of men; so it is well to pay homage; according to their custom; to their birds so that these may be favorable. They all answer with a loud Ho! And after eating with great appetite they all go get their mats and spread out their birds on a skin stretched in the midle of the cabin and with the chichicoyas they sing a whole night . . . "
No Reference Specified Use - Food  "They have abundance of water-melons; citruls; and gourds"
No Reference Specified Use - Customs  tribal members often owned a small gourd and/or drum. "Oh yes [they had gourd rattles]. Everybody; just about; had a little drum . . . men and women."
No Reference Specified Use - Customs  pre-war dancing; drumming and gourd rattling
No Reference Specified Use - Technology  used to make dipping utensil. "shishikani minakani; gourd dipper"
No Reference Specified Use - Customs  used for gourd rattles
No Reference Specified Use - Customs  dried skins of fruits used to make rattles. "In the reservation period; it was hard to get gourds. So they used the condensed milk cans which were part of the government rations. They became popular. So we use a lot of metal rattles today; but we still have many gourd rattles"
No Reference Specified Use - Technology  used to make dipping utensil. "shishikani minakani; gourd dipper"
No Reference Specified Use - Customs  gourd rattles made for Gourd Dance
No Reference Specified Horticultural Info  Gourds; watermelons and sunflowers are first sprouted in a hot-bed; then transplanted into a crop field
Botanical Sources  
Lagenaria siceraria Molina Standl.
Reference Source Notes Data Comments
No Reference Specified   Occurs as a cultivated species or an escape along roadsides; etc. throughout eastern and western Miami lands
Related Sources  
Lagenaria siceraria Molina Standl.
Reference Source Notes Data Comments
No Reference Specified   Human-charred rind fragments, resembling the thin, hard walls of the bottle gourd, were recoverd from an early 19th century Miami village site at the forks of the Wabash River (Fort Wayne), 1975-1812 (Ehler Site).
No Reference Specified   The species name used here is listed as Lagenaria lagenaria in Smalls flora of the southeastern U.S.; and L. vulgaris or L. leucantha by Steyermark. There is no species with the common name of gourd in listed in Gleason and Cronquists flora -- the closest relative listed is Cucurbita foetidissima; wild pumpkin
No Reference Specified   Steyermark says this species is used for making drinking receptacles; utensils; decoration; and bird-houses; and that the small; young fruits may be cooked and eaten
No Reference Specified   Tea from any yellow flowered plant was used for aches and sluggishness
No Reference Specified   The Delaware use rattles made of bell-gourds; although turtle shell rattles are still popular and in common use
No Reference Specified   Great Lakes tribes; in general; used cupping-glasses made of gourds; and filled with combustible matters which they set on fire to treat some disease of the body
No Reference Specified   Algonquians use a gourd rattle; filled with small pebbles; as part of a funeral custom. ". . . Immediately they [all members of the village of the deceased; including invited guests from other villages] begin to dance to the noise of a drum and of a gourd which contains small pebbles; both keeping the same time"
No Reference Specified   In the general Algonquian beliefs; the deceased travel to a beautiful country. In their travels there; after death; they arrive at a place where the drumbeat and gourd sounds mark time for the dead; gives them pleasure; and urges them on their way to the place of resting. "The short remaining distance which they must traverse before arriving in the place where the sound of the drum and the gourds--marking time for [the steps of--Blairs brackets] the dad; to give them pleasure--falls agreeably on their ears; urges them on to hasten directly thither with great earnestness. The nearer they approach it; always the louder becomes this sound . . ."