Thursday, October 3, 2013

Parting Gifts from New Mexico: The Vine, the Vine!

It was in Tularosa, in the spring, when I first noticed it. A long, spindly vine along the road. Its leaves were large and pointy at one end. It looked like a plant that would produce some sort of squash or melon.

On various occasions, I asked people about it. Did the plant produce anything? Most of the time the response was a verbal shrug, though one person allowed as how it might be a gourd...... (What is a gourd, really, other than a table centerpiece or a musical instrument?) .... was it edible? Another shrug.

All summer the vine remained a puzzle.

And into the fall.

Until the second to the last day of my year in New Mexico, on September 28, outside Fort Sumner.

On that day, it was revealed to me.  

Feral curcubita foetissima

And after some research, once seeing the yellow progeny, I've concluded it is known by any of these names: buffalo gourd, coyote gourd, or Missouri (!) gourd. But its best name comes from its Latin roots: stinking gourd.

Feral curcubita foetissima

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