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Cucurbita foetidissima
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Missouri Gourd
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Cucurbita foetidissima

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About Missouri Gourd (Cucurbita foetidissima) Cucurbita foetidissima (buffalo gourd, calabazilla, chilicote, coyote gourd, fetid gourd, Missouri gourd, stinking gourd, wild gourd, wild pumpkin) is a xerophytic tuberous plant found in the southwestern USA and northwestern Mexico. A member of the cucumber family, the fruit is consumed by humans and non-human animals both. The fruit can be eaten cooked like a squash when very young. As the fruit becomes fully mature, it is too bitter for humans to eat. At this stage, the fruit is used by natives for decorative purposes or in making musical instruments, particularly rattles. The seeds are the source of buffalo gourd oil. It grows fast (including a massive underground tuber) with little water, and some have proposed growing it for fuel or biofuel ethanol
Plant Description
Plant Type
Perennial herb, Annual herb

Max. Height
1 ft (0.3 m)


Growth Rate

Flower Color
Yellow, Orange

Flowering Season

Native Status

Natural Setting
Site Type
Sandy, gravelly places


Elevation ?
2' - 5576'

Annual Precip. ?
3.1" - 39.2"

Summer Precip. ?
0.15" - 2.55"

Coldest Month ?
40.1° F - 58.9° F

Hottest Month ?
63.6° F - 88.5° F

Humidity ?
0.45 vpd - 39.66 vpd

Soil Description
Prefers dry sandy or coarse soil


Sunset Zones ?
7*, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14*, 15*, 16*, 17, 18*, 19*, 20*, 21*, 22*, 23*, 24*

Landscaping Information
Ease of Care
Moderately Easy

Water Requirement ?
Very Low, Low
Extremely Low
Very Low
Moderate - High

Common uses

Nursery Availability
Commonly Available

Sources include: Wikipedia. All text shown in the "About" section of these pages is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. Plant observation data provided by the participants of the California Consortia of Herbaria, Sunset information provided by Jepson Flora Project. Propogation from seed information provided by the Santa Barbara Botanical Garden from "Seed Propagation of Native California Plants" by Dara E. Emery. Sources of plant photos include CalPhotos, Wikimedia Commons, and independent plant photographers who have agreed to share their images with Calscape. Other general sources of information include Calflora, CNPS Manual of Vegetation Online, Jepson Flora Project, Las Pilitas, Theodore Payne, Tree of Life, The Xerces Society, and information provided by CNPS volunteer editors, with special thanks to Don Rideout. Climate data used in creation of plant range maps is from PRISM Climate Group, Oregon State University, using 30 year (1981-2010) annual "normals" at an 800 meter spatial resolution.

Links:   Jepson eFlora Taxon Page  CalPhotos  Wikipedia  Calflora

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