By S. Olanrewaju Disu
This vegetable is usually trailing polymorphic herbaceous cultigen, and it comes out annually. Historically, it is a native of Peru, but its now dispersed throughout most of the world. I is scientifically called "Cucurbita maxima, Family Cucurbitaceae"
This vegetable's young leaves and shoots as well as flowers are used as a pot nerb. The fruit-flesh is generally boiled and eaten in pieces or put into stews and soups. The seeds of the fruit have medicinal uses, too. Here in Nigeria, freshly powdered seeds of the fruit of "elegede" vegetable are taken to expel tapeworm.
Before delivery to urban and sub-urban markets in Lagos Metropolis, the vegetable is picked up in farms and around houses, often trained against house walls, flowering and fruiting on the roof. The fruit has large gourds and perhaps the largest of the known gourds, which reports say can weigh as much as 100kgs!
Culturally, the husk serves as a container and also as domestic utensils. Some artisans carve out the big-sized gourds into single membrane drums which are used as tom toms during festivals. The "elegede" vegetable is a unique plant,indeed.
The fruits of the "Elegede" vegetable on sale at the "Isolo Road" end of the boisterious Mushin Market. The above fruits weigh between 1.0kg and 10.0kg