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128438Re: Jicaro trees..not just in Chira

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  • henry kantrowitz
    Mar 31, 2011
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      the jicaro tree (crescentia alata) is also known as as guacal, gourd tree or more commonly, in english, the  calabash tree.  that name is used for a few of the species in this genus. 
      it is not limited to chira but is found from central mexico to south america.  i have seen it most common in guanacaste but i have it on my property in the central pacific and i have seen it growing as far south as the osa peninsula. 
      it is probably more common in guanacaste cause the seeds are distributed by horses.  they  break into the gourd and swallow the black sweet gunk in it, which also contains tons of seeds.  the seeds are then distributed when the horse defecates.   it was more prominent during the pleistocene period when all of the large herbivorous mammals existed.  also horses existed at that time here.  after that period the jicaro declined in population but has somewhat recovered since horses have been reintroduced here.  since most of the roaming horses are in guanacaste they seem to be more common there. 
      henry

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