Types of gourds include banana, canteen, basketball, cannonball, kettle and sennari gourds. Other types of gourds include bushel, bottle, penguin, egg, Italian snake, dipper, speckled swan and maranka gourds. A gourd is defined as a fleshy fruit with hard skin that comes from a calabash tree. A majority of gourds are inedible.
Banana gourds are small and club-shaped, growing to approximately 9 inches long. People use them for crafting. A canteen or sugar bowl gourd measures 3 to 4 inches high and 6 to 12 inches in diameter. These gourds have especially thick shells, which allow craftspeople to carve them into decorative items.
Cannonball and basketball gourds are both spherical, with the basketball gourd growing larger, sometimes as big as a regulation basketball. Bushel and giant bushel gourds are also spherical. Giant bushel gourds grow to weigh up to 168 pounds.
Kettle gourds are shaped like a pear. They range from pear- to drum-sized. Bottle gourds are more dramatic in shape, with a definite distinction between the top and bottom spheres. Sennari is a type of Japanese mini-bottle gourd that grows 3 inches high and 2 inches in diameter. Other types of bottle gourds include Mexican, Chinese, Indonesian and mini-Nigerian.
Some gourds are soft-shelled. Penguin, egg and Italian snake are examples of soft-shelled gourds. Other gourds have exotic shapes. The dipper gourd has a long, curved neck. The speckled swan gourd resembles the bird for which it's named. The caveman club, or maranka, gourd appears to grow a handle.