Any of over 700 species of ornamental shelled fruits from the gourd family, Cucurbitaceae. Gourds plants are fast growing vines that are native to tropical and sub-tropical regions. Evidence indicates that gourds were domesticated in the Andes about 11,000 BCE (Mackay 1996). Use of gourds in China dates to at least the Neolithic period. While some gourds, such as squashes, were cultivated for food, most of the hard-shelled fruits were utilitarian (bottles, bowls, storage containers, and musical instruments).
W.I.Mackay, "Gourd", The Dictionary of Art, Grove's Dictionaries, Inc., New York, 1996.
- Encyclopedia Britannica, http://www.britannica.com Comment: "gourd" Encyclopædia Britannica from Encyclopædia Britannica Premium Service. [Accessed May 5, 2004].
- The Dictionary of Art, Grove's Dictionaries Inc., New York, 1996 Comment: "Africa: Gourds"
- The American Heritage Dictionary or Encarta, via Microsoft Bookshelf 98, Microsoft Corp., 1998