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Cucurbita digitata

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Author of this page: Ryan Giesecke.

Photo by Russ Kleinman.


The fruits from Cabezaprieta.org.


The buried caudex from Cabezaprieta.org.

Author: Asa Gray, 1853
Family:  CUCURBITACEAE
Origin:  Northern Baja California, Northern Sonora, Southern Arizona, Southern New Mexico, Arizona, California, Texas
Soil:  Grit - Mix
Water:  Minimum - Medium
Sun:  Medium - Maximum
Thickness:  8 Centimetres
Height 6 Meters (Long)
Flower:  Yellow
Propagate:  Seeds, Root Division
Names:  Fingerleaf Gourd, Finger-leaved Gourd, Calabacilla, Chichicayote, Melloncillo, Coyote Gourd, Wild Gourd
Synonyms:  -

This member of the Cucurbitaceae family was first described by Asa Gray in 1853. It can be found native to northern Baja California and Sonora, and southern Arizona and New Mexico. Introduced populations can also be found near roads and campsites in southern California. It preferring a loose sand/grit/gravel mix and quite a bit of sun, and produces tuberous roots to survive periods of drought. This plant is differentiated from C. palmata primarily by the slenderness of the five lobes of the leaves. Fruits are dark green with narrow white stripes, 6-8 centimetres in size, and generally considered inedible. The seeds contain 34% protein and 50% fat, and are around ten millimetres in size.

The genera name from Latin; cucumis; 'gourd'. The species name means 'finger' as the leafs are hand shaped.

C. digitata hybridizes readily with C. palmata and several other North American Cucurbita species.

I am unaware of how (or if) the root will handle exposure above ground level.


A flower from Cabezaprieta.org.