The words gourd and calabash are often used interchangeably. Both can be defined as a "hard-shell durable fruit grown for ornament, utensils and general interest" (L.H. Bailey, Garden of Gourds, 1937). But are they the same or different? Well, the gourd (photo above left) is native to the continent of Africa and grows on a vine. The calabash (photo above right) is indigenous to tropical America and grows on a tree.
Photo of gourd by Sala Faruq. Copyright © 2009 by Sala Faruq. All rights reserved. Photo of calabash found at http://consejo.bz/belize/bushmedicine.html.