Buffalogourd (Curcurbita foetidissima)


Buffalogourd Cucurbita foetidissima H. B. K. (GOURD FAMILY)

Buffalogourd is a prostrate, viny perennial from a thick rootstock. The stems are coarse and rough, often several yards long, with tendrils. The grayish-green leaves are triangular-ovate, 4-6 in. long, and with a finely-toothed margin and rough on both sides. The flowers are solitary in the leaf axils with a yellow, tubular, 5-lobed corolla. The plants are monoecious, with male and female flowers on the same plant. The male flowers are more numerous than the female. The fruit is fleshy {pepo) and nearly globose, about the size of a tennis ball, with yellow and green stripes. The fruit pulp and root of buffalogourd have enough saponin to make them a soap substitute. The fruit can be eaten, but is decidedly bitter. Several medicinal qualities have been attributed to the roots of this plant. Among them are cures for rheumatism, constipation, and sores and ulcers. The Navajo used dried gourds for rattles in ceremonials.