Cucurbita Species, Buffalo Gourd, Calabazilla, Missouri Gourd, Wild Gourd

Cucurbita foetidissima

Family: Cucurbitaceae (koo-ker-bih-TAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Cucurbita (koo-KER-bih-ta) (Info)
Species: foetidissima (fet-uh-DISS-ih-muh) (Info)
Synonym:Cucumis foetidissimus
Synonym:Cucumis perennis


Vines and Climbers

Water Requirements:

Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Sun Exposure:

Partial to Full Shade



Foliage Color:




24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

36-48 in. (90-120 cm)

4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)

6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)

8-10 ft. (2.4-3 m)

10-12 ft. (3-3.6 m)


4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)

6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)


USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)

USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)

USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)

USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)

USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)

USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

Where to Grow:

Grow outdoors year-round in hardiness zone


Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:

Gold (yellow-orange)

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Mid Summer

Late Summer/Early Fall

Other details:

May be a noxious weed or invasive

Soil pH requirements:

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

From seed; direct sow after last frost

Seed Collecting:

Unblemished fruit must be significantly overripe before harvesting seed; clean and dry seeds

Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored


This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

Ash Fork, Arizona

Hereford, Arizona

Calabasas, California

Canoga Park, California

Santa Rosa, California

Temecula, California

Canon City, Colorado

Penrose, Colorado

Walsenburg, Colorado

Rolla, Kansas

Blairstown, New Jersey

Elephant Butte, New Mexico

Roswell, New Mexico

Cement, Oklahoma

Hulbert, Oklahoma

Austin, Texas

Bulverde, Texas

Cibolo, Texas

De Leon, Texas

Dripping Springs, Texas

Falls City, Texas

Kerrville, Texas

Lubbock, Texas

Odessa, Texas

Roby, Texas

San Antonio, Texas

Winters, Texas

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On May 9, 2017, WhiteSparrow from Canon City, CO wrote:

Just created this account to post here because it's been hard to find good info on this plant, and I found a really good write-up this morning that I wanted to share with other folks interested in this plant:

I planted one in an oak barrel in front of my house 2 years ago, having no idea what I was getting myself into. I dug it up this year to transplant it only to find it'd grown a root through the bottom of the barrel, squeezed itself in between the bricks on the walk the barrel sits on, down through the dirt, and squeezed itself through the shale -which I don't dare dig up- and probably straight on down to China.

Be aware of this w... read more


On Oct 24, 2013, gudjuju from Temecula,
United States wrote:

I am not a gardener, but I do enjoy working in the garden. I am shocked that no one has focused on the horrible smell of this plant! It is not bad to look at, but I have it on my property and it just reeks! The problem is that when either of my dogs, or my kids, or I walk through its leaves, the smell is unbearable. Really. The dogs have to be bathed before coming into the house, the kids' shoes are left outside until they can be cleaned and I have a pair of shoes that I use specifically for walking on the part of my property that has 'stink gourd' plant growing on it- and they are left outside, as they stink up the garage if they are left in there. I came on this site hoping to find a way to get rid of this plant. It grows without any care, it's huge and it stinks. I consider it a real pr... read more


On Jul 8, 2012, stevelopez from Lake Hughes, CA wrote:

Very invasive!!! Be careful where you plant this!


On Apr 29, 2011, hayjude from Ash Fork, AZ wrote:

I live in northern Arizona, 80 miles west of the Grand Canyon and this plant grows wild along Route 66 and I see it in fields. I will be collecting some seeds to plant on my property.

I asked several long-time residents if they knew what the plant was and they did not know. I just moved here last year, so thanks Dave's Garden for the information!


On Oct 30, 2010, dulciquilt from Lubbock, TX wrote:

In west Texas the gourd grows wild in fields and along the highways in full sun. I find it hard to believe they were used for any kind of utensil as they are as fragile as hen eggs. The root can grow to be 18" across and 3'-4' long. There is research being done regarding growing them as an oil source. They produce more oil per acre than corn and the oil has more protein and less saturated fat. They would only need to seed once, then harvest every other row and let the remain go to seed . They are also called stink melon or stink gourd because when green they smell like rotten onions or really bad body odor.


On May 17, 2010, RxAngel from Stratford, TX (Zone 6b) wrote:

These grow wild around here, and I am planting one on the outer fence of our garden. The little gourds are attractive when green, and turn a pretty yellow color when allowed to stay on the vine.


On Jan 27, 2010, TXMadrone from Austin, TX wrote:

I love this plant but it grows like crazy and can be invasive. I too collect the softball size gourds to dry and display for holidays. The deer don't eat them and they last forever and are really lovely. The leaves are very rough and abrasive. Mine are native. They just showed up and propagate all by themselves each year in FULL sun.


On Jan 3, 2010, texasflora_com from De Leon, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

Most of the times I have seen this gourd growing, it was at the side of the highway, growing right out onto the shoulder. And contrary to the info above saying it grows in shade, this plant grows in full sun and isn't fazed a bit by the hot summer sun in Texas.


On Jul 31, 2009, farmboyvo from Blairstown, NJ wrote:

I found this gourd in the Gila wilderness in south west N.M almost 10 years ago.I planted the seeds in my garden here in New Jersey i have been growing organic veggies for the past 18 years so it seems odd that this plant has assumed a perennial status in my zone 5 garden for the past 9 seasons it comes back from a burdock looking root(or like a carrot)white flesh that seems to handle our winters and sprout after the garden is turned in the spring.The only thing i found about it is the indians used it as a way to ween children from mothers milk.This seemed true since although it looks like spagetti squash it is so bitter it left the tast in my mouth for a long time.


On Sep 16, 2008, trish53 from Falls City, TX wrote:

I have this plant growing wild in may fields. I use them during the holidays sitting along side my pumkins and other decorative gourds and decorations. Does anyone have information on drying and painting them?



On May 29, 2007, WUVIE from Hulbert, OK (Zone 7a) wrote:

Could there be an error in the listing?

The sun exposure is set to shade. Having
lived in New Mexico for many years, I don't
quite recall much shade, but do remember
plenty of gourds in the full sun.


On Aug 10, 2004, roadrunner from Crossville, TN wrote:

Native Americans also used the crushed gourds to put around other plants to deter insects.


On Oct 20, 2003, htop from San Antonio, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

San Antonio, Tx.
In my area we call this plant just "wild gourd". It can be found from Mexico to Missouri and Nebraska. The flowers are monoecious, that is, individual flowers are either male or female with both sexes being found on the same plant. The plant is self-fertile. When the seeds are spouting, a toxic substance is produced by their embryos and there are reports that the root is poisonous. It produces small round gourds that are green with vertical off white stripes. When the fruit is ripe, it turns a yellowish color.

Many native North American tribes used and still use wild gourd as a medicine. The mashed plant has been used as a poultice to treat skin sores and ulcers and the stems and leaves have been employed as a laxative. To remove stains from clothing,... read more