Another bizarre native plant curiosity from Texas and most of the Southwestern U.S., buffalo gourd was widely utilized by Native Americans for food, medicine and other uses, including soap made from the root's saponin compound. The fruit is pretty much unpalatable by humans but commonly eaten by animals. The most useful aspects of buffalo gourd in today's world are the thick-shelled dried gourds which can be used in crafts and decorations and the seeds, which can be roasted and eaten or pulverized into a flour. The leaves feel like sandpaper.
Cucurbita foetidissima has numerous common names, including: buffalo gourd, calabazilla, chilicote, coyote gourd, fetid gourd, fetid wild pumpkin, Missouri gourd, prairie gourd, stinking gourd, wild gourd, and wild pumpkin. The plant is tuberous and a true xerophytic plant found in the Southwestern United States and Northwestern Mexico.
The feral perennial Buffalo gourd has evolved in the semiarid regions and is well adapted to desert environments. It has abundant yields of oil, protein and carbohydrates. The carbohydrates that are formed in the tap root have led to the idea to grow the plant for biofuel.
The plant's long vines can reach 18 feet in length. The fleshy underground root gets very large and is sometimes in the shape of a human body. The plant is a perennial and will return every year from this root. Adventurous gardeners might even like to grow the buffalo gourd on a trellis.
This is another great plant for desert or Xeriscape landscaping if you make room for it to grow. Survives our long, hot Texas droughts when there is sometimes no rainfall for 3 months at a time.
Much more can be learned about the buffalo gourd by Googling.
As with all wild, native plants, exercise caution when using. Seller can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice of a knowledgeable professional before using any plant medicinally.
See my OTHER ITEMS for other unusual USA native plants and seeds.