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Cucurbita foetidissima

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Author of this page: Ryan Giesecke.

Photo by Eastern Colorado Wildflowers.

The caudex by Bernard Gacongne.

The leaves by Bernard Gacongne.

The female flower by Bernard Gacongne.

The fruits by Bernard Gacongne.

The seeds by Bernard Gacongne.

Author: Karl Sigismund Kunth, 1817
Origin:  South-Western USA, Mexico
Soil:  Grit
Water:  Minimum - Medium
Sun:  Maximum
Thickness:  40 Centimetres
Height:   3-5 Metres
Flower:  Yellow
Propagate:  Seeds, Root Division
Names:  Buffalo Gourd, Coyote Gourd, Calabazilla, Chilicote, Fetid Gourd, Missouri Gourd, Prairie Gourd, Stinking Gourd, Wild Gourd
Synonyms:  Cucumis perennis, E. James, 1823.
Ozodycus perennis
, Raf.  1832.
Cucurbita perennis
, A. Gray, 1850.
Pepo foetidissima,
Britton, 1913.
Cucumis foetidissimus, Hemsl.

This member of the Cucurbitaceae family was first collected by Humboldt and Bonpland somewhere in Mexico, sometime before 1817. It is found throughout the south-western part of the USA and Mexico. The vines tend to sprawl along the ground rather than attaining height, but can reach a length of several meters. In the wild, the taproot can expand to 40 centimetres or more in diameter, and 1.5 meters in depth. Cultivated specimens have been seen to grow significantly larger and deeper. This plant has been considered as a semi-arid regions biofuel crop, as well as having been used historically for astringent/disinfectant qualities and other healing purposes. The edible seeds contain 25-42% fat and 22-35% protein. The immature fruits are also edible, though mature fruits are not, and parts of the plant can be toxic if ingested. The fruits can reach a diameter of about ten centimetres, and contain hundreds of seeds which may remain viable for months or even years inside of the dried gourd.

The genera name from Latin; cucumis; 'gourd'. The species name indicate a fault smell.

I am unaware of how (or if) the taproot will handle exposure above ground level.

Ivan Cupic can add, he actually has been growing this plants for years. Despite attempts to raise the caudex, it have never succeeded him. The plants refuses to set out new leaves, and after a year, they die. He can further more add, the species name is well deserved: The plant have an awful smell, filling the entire greenhouse.

The male flower by Bernard Gacongne.