Cucurbita foetidissima Kunth
Stinking Gourd, Buffalo Gourd, Missouri Gourd, Stink Gourd, Wild Gourd
Cucurbitaceae (Cucumber Family)
Synonym(s): Pepo foetidissima
USDA Symbol: CUFO
A malodorous plant with large, gray-green, triangular leaves growing along long, prostrate stems. The plants are often 20-30 feet across, with rough, hairy leaves as much as 12 inches long. The large, bell-like flowers, 2-4 inches long, are yellow to orange, 5-lobed at the opening, with stamens that have large anthers deep inside the throat. The globular fruits, about 4 inches across, are green-striped when young, maturing to tennis-ball size and turning yellow. The plant supposedly gets the name "stink gourd" from its foul odor.
From the Image Gallery
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial
Leaf Arrangement: Alternate
Fruit Type: Pepo
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Yellow
Bloom Time: Jun , Jul , Aug
DistributionUSA: AR , AZ , CA , CO , FL , IA , IL , IN , KS , KY , MI , MO , NE , NM , NV , OH , OK , TX , UT , WI , WY
Native Distribution: Southern California to eastern Colorado; east to Missouri; south into Mexico.
Native Habitat: Open areas on plains and deserts.
Growing ConditionsWater Use: Low
Light Requirement: Sun
CaCO3 Tolerance: High
BenefitUse Medicinal: Pulverized root in tea to speed protracted labor in childbirth. Tea made from boiled peeled roots used to induce vomiting. Powdered seeds and flowers mixed with saliva to reduce swellings. Dried root ground to a powder, mixed with cold water and drunk for laxative.
Use Other: The inedible fruits are easily dried and often brightly painted for decorative use.
Warning: The foul-tasting mature fruit is poisonous to humans if eaten. Sensitivity to a toxin varies with a personís age, weight, physical condition, and individual susceptibility. Children are most vulnerable because of their curiosity and small size. Toxicity can vary in a plant according to season, the plantís different parts, and its stage of growth; and plants can absorb toxic substances, such as herbicides, pesticides, and pollutants from the water, air, and soil.
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Interesting Foliage: yes
Find Seed or Plants
Order seed of this species from Native American Seed and help support the Wildflower Center.
Find seed sources for this species at the Native Seed Network.
Mr. Smarty Plants says
Identification of vine with gourd-like fruit
June 30, 2010
We live on a farm, and I have noticed a vine that has leaves like grapes, but produces this flower, and a fruit that is rather large, shaped like a gourd, right now green in color. It is growing over ...
view the full question and answer
Are gourds poisonous, edible?
August 27, 2008
Are all the Gourds edible? How can I know which one is which? If it is not edible, is it poisonous? If not, what is stopping us from eating them?
view the full question and answer
From the National Organizations DirectoryAccording to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:
Fredericksburg Nature Center - Fredericksburg, TX
Sibley Nature Center - Midland, TX
Brackenridge Field Laboratory - Austin, TX
Native Seed Network - Corvallis, OR
NPSOT - Williamson County Chapter - Georgetown, TX
Herbarium Specimen(s)NPSOT 0941 Collected Aug 5, 1994 in Bexar County by Harry Cliffe
NPSOT 0324 Collected May 22, 1987 in Bexar County by Harry Cliffe
BibliographyBibref 610 - Edible wild plants of the prairie : an ethnobotanical guide (1987) Kindscher, K.
Bibref 248 - Texas Wildflowers: A Field Guide (1984) Loughmiller, C. & L. Loughmiller
Bibref 328 - Wildflowers of Texas (2003) Ajilvsgi, Geyata.
Bibref 286 - Wildflowers of the Texas Hill Country (1989) Enquist, M.
Search More Titles in Bibliography
Additional resourcesUSDA: Find Cucurbita foetidissima in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Cucurbita foetidissima in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Cucurbita foetidissima
MetadataRecord Modified: 2017-07-07
Research By: TWC Staff