Also known as “Stinking gourd” and “Missouri gourd”.
Has an offensive odor of the leaves.
Adapted to dry disturbed areas in waste places, roadsides, ditches, and fence lines of sandy or gravelly soils.
Flowers May to August.
Produces a 3 to 4 inch round gourd with yellow and green stripes, and the gourd is extremely bitter.
This low growing vine can reach a length of 20 feet. The large, yellow flowers open in the mornings and are 3 to 4 inches long and 1 to 2 inches wide. The root can grow to enormous proportions. It will descend 4 to 6 feet and weigh more than 100 pounds. A root weighing 178 pounds has actually been documented!
The Omaha, Osage, Ponca, and Dakota Indians attributed mystical and medicinal powers to the root. Special care was taken when unearthing the root, for it was believed that an injury to the root would lead to injury of oneself or one’s family members.