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Coyote Melon
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Cucurbita palmata
  

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About Coyote Melon (Cucurbita palmata) Cucurbita palmata is a species of flowering plant in the squash family known by the common names coyote melon and coyote gourd. It is similar to Cucurbita californica, Cucurbita cordata, Cucurbita cylindrata, and Cucurbita digitata and all these species hybridize readily. It was first identified by Sereno Watson in 1876. These species form the only restricted xerophyte species group in the genus Cucurbita. Each member of this species group is native to the Southwestern United States and Northwestern Mexico where they are relatively uncommon. Each group member is found in hot, arid regions with low rainfall. They prefer soil that is loose, gravelly, and well-drained. C. palmata is native to northeastern Baja California, southeastern California, and southwestern Arizona to a point near the Colorado River. The juvenile leaves of C. cylindrata, C. cordata, C. digitata, and C. palmata show a high degree of similarity, but their mature leaves are visibly different, as are their root structures. C. palmata and C. digitata are sympatric, with C. palmata separating the ranges of C. digitata at the juncture of Baja California, California, and Arizona. C. palmata fruits are diffuse green mottle that turns yellow at maturity, striped, and round. Cucurbita palmata is a sprawling vine with rough, stiff-haired stems and leaves. The dark green, light-veined leaves are sharply palmate with usually five long triangular points. Cucurbita palmata is a sprawling vine with rough, stiff-haired stems and leaves. The dark green, light-veined leaves are sharply palmate with usually five long triangular points. The stiff, curling yellow flowers are 6 to 8 centimeters wide. The plant bears smooth spherical or oblate squash fruits 8 to 10 centimeters wide. The fruits may be bright yellow to dark green and may have white stripes. The fruit is distasteful and not edible.
Plant Description
Plant Type
Perennial herb, Annual herb

Native Status
Native

Natural Setting
Elevation ?
-187' - 4514'

Annual Precip. ?
2.5" - 26.6"

Summer Precip. ?
0.15" - 2.20"

Coldest Month ?
41.2° F - 60.5° F

Hottest Month ?
67.1° F - 89.1° F

Humidity ?
1.03 vpd - 40.71 vpd

Landscaping Information
Common uses
Groundcovers

Nursery Availability
Never or Almost Never 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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