BUFFALO GOURD, Cucurbita
foetidissima H.B.K. 1, upper part of plant showing fruit;
2, root system. Perennial, reproducing by seed and roots.
Taproot yellow inside, carrotlike, very thick and fleshy, often
more than 6 inches (15 cm) across, sometimes over 5 feet (1.5 m) long.
Stems trailing and rooting at joints, 15 to 30 feet (4.5 to 9 m)
long, stout, angled, ridged, rough-hairy, many-branched. Leaves
thick, simple, sharply toothed, 4 inches to 1 foot (10 to 30 cm) long,
ovate, long-pointed, rough above, gray-hairy beneath, with strong, rough-hairy
petioles. Flowers bright yellow, deeply 5-lobed, 3 to 4 inches (7.5
to 10 cm) long and nearly as broad, in leaf axils. Male and female flowers
separate but on the same plant. Fruit globular, 3 inches (7.5 cm)
long, with yellow and green markings and a hard, smooth rind. Seeds
numerous, oval, flattened, similar to pumpkin seed but about half as large,
light straw-colored. Found on dry, sandy soil in fields and waste
places, and along fence rows. The entire plant has an offensive odor, especially