Saturday, September 15, 2012

Lau Ful (লাউ ফুল) - Lagenaria siceraria

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Bengali Name : Lau (লাউ).
Common Name : Bottle Gourd.
Botanical Name : Lagenaria siceraria
Family : Cucurbitaceae
Photo Taken : Bangladesh

In Bengali cuisine the Bottle Gourd is one of the most precious vegetable. It is having the local name Lau (লাউ) with several vernacular names (i.e. Kodu (কদু)). Botanical name is Lagenaria siceraria from the plant family Cucurbitaceae. This was initially native to African region but later spread widely. This is considered as one of the first cultivated plant in world. Though it was cultivated only for making water container from the fruit.

In our country Bangladesh flower of Lau (লাউ ফুল) uses to bloom during winter. On a foggy morning the dew covered bright white flowers look exquisitely beautiful. These white flowers are having five petals and sometimes the shape is quite irregular. Male and female flowers are different. Female flowers are having an ovary at the bottom which later converts into a fruit after successful pollination.

Bottle Gourd plant is an annual climbing vine. Leafs are large and soft hairy with texture at bottom side. The whole plant has a musky odor when crushed. Plant grows quickly and require a lot of watering. This plant can be grown over the fence or a horizontal structure, locally in Bangladesh we call that macha (মাচা).

A female Bottle gourd flower (স্ত্রী লাউ ফুল).

The leafs and stems are usable as a palatable vegetable in several dishes. The fruit is being used in lot of cuisines at Indian territory. Smashed leaf of the plant after boiling is one of my favorite. You can also fry the leafs with olive oil that can easily bring water in your mouth. Bangladesh has plenty of fresh water fish. Any such freshwater fish can go easily with the Bottle gourd fruit to cook a curry.

A female Bottle gourd flower (স্ত্রী লাউ ফুল).

Using the shell of the fruit it is possible to make a water container. People have been using such container for carrying water since the ancient time. In our hilly areas the tribals are using these kind of containers even now a days.

A Bottle gourd fruit (লাউ).

Photos of this article were taken from Jamalpur (জামালপুর), Jhalokathi (ঝালকাঠি), Khagrachhori(খাগড়াছড়ি) of Bangladesh.

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