Scientific Name: Cucurbita foetidissima
Synonym: Pepo foetidissima
Common Names: Missouri Gourd, Buffalo Gourd, Stinking Gourd, Stink Gourd, Stinky Gourd, Calabazilla, Wild Gourd, Wild Pumpkin
Growth Habit: Vine, Herb/Forb
Arizona Native Status: Native
Habitat: Desert, Upland. It grows in grassy areas and in pastures.
Flower Color: Orange-yellow
Flowering Season: Summer
Height: Trailing to 20 feet (6 m) long
Description: The fuzzy, urn-shaped flowers have 5 ruffled lobes and are 4 inches (10 cm) long. The female flowers are followed by light and dark green-striped gourds that dry to a solid tan color. The leaves are large, silvery gray-green in color, and triangular to narrowly heart-shaped. The plants have a huge underground taproot.
Edible – The seeds are edible like pumpkin seeds. The small, young fruits are supposedly also edible if cooked, but they are bitter. The taproots have been eaten in the past, but they are poisonous.
Foul-smelling – The crushed leaves have a strong, foul smell like pungent human body odor mixed with sulfurous sewage. Some plants smell worse than others. Beware of treading on the foliage because it will make your shoes stink.
Poisonous – The mature fruits and the taproots are poisonous. The horrible smelling foliage may be poisonous as well.
Kingdom: Plantae – Plants
Subkingdom: Tracheobionta – Vascular plants
Superdivision: Spermatophyta – Seed plants
Division: Magnoliophyta – Flowering plants
Class: Magnoliopsida – Dicotyledons
Family: Cucurbitaceae – Cucumber family
Genus: Cucurbita L. – gourd
Species: Cucurbita foetidissima Kunth – Missouri gourd
More About This Plant
Arizona County Distribution Map
Stink Gourd (Cucurbita foetidissima), A Very Stinky Plant – The Firefly Forest