coyote gourd, more...
[Cucurbita californica Torr. ex S. Wats.]
Wiggins 1964, Hodgson 2001
Duration: Perennial Nativity: Native Lifeform: Vine General: Grayish green, perennial, prostrate vine with deep fusiform root; stems strongly ribbed, rather densely pilose with small rough projections on angles in age; tendrils nonpetiolate, mostly 3-branched, retrorsely hispid, gland tipped, small, weak. Leaves: Blades palmately cleft to middle or deeper, 3-9 cm long and about as wide or slightly narrower, conically appressed-hispid above, densely so along veins, appressed hispid below and with small rough projections, lobes lanceolate, acuminate or acute, occasionally irregularly sublobed; petioles on mature leaves equaling or exceeding blades. Flowers: Staminate flowers 5-7 cm long, pubescent on peduncles 3-5 cm long; calyx narrowly campanulate, tube 3-3.5 cm long, lobes 4-6 mm long, subulate; pubescent ovary. Fruits: Pepo depressed globose, dull light green and mottled, narrowly and faintly 10-striped. Ecology: Found in sandy soils and on rocky slopes below 3,000 ft (914 m); flowers April-September. Notes: Similar to C. digitata, but the lobes of the leaves are more stout in C. palmata. Similarly foul smelling oils. Ethnobotany: Some indications that the seeds were either eaten or used for oil historically, some references suggest they were boiled or roasted and then pounded to a mush, pulp, or a meal. Etymology: Cucurbita is the Latin name for gourd, while palmata means palmate, in reference to the leaves. Synonyms: Cucurbita californica Editor: SBuckley, 2010