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Coyote Melon (Cucurbita palmata)
Perennial Forbs Around Las Vegas, Vegetation Around Las Vegas
Coyote Gourd (Cucurbita palmata)

General: Coyote Melon (Cucurbita palmata), also called Coyote Gourd, is an annual or weak perennial forb with large, palmately-dissected (shaped like a hand) leaves that grows as a spreading vine on the ground. The plant produces large, orange, funnel-shaped flowers uncharacteristic of the desert, and these are followed by 3-4 inch diameter green gourds with light stripes. In time, the gourds dry, blow away, and break open to release a payload of seeds. It is said that coyotes eat the gourds, but they taste pretty bad to this human.

Coyote Melon is an uncommon component of vegetation communities in dry, well-drained gravelly areas on bajadas into the lower mountains in the Lower Sonoran (Creosote-Bursage Flats) and Upper Sonoran (Mojave Desert Scrub) life zones.

Around Las Vegas, look for Coyote Melon along roadsides at Red Rocks and Lake Mead.

Family: Gourds (Cucurbitaceae)

Coyote Gourd (Cucurbita palmata) Coyote Gourd (Cucurbita palmata)
Coyote Gourd (Cucurbita palmata) Coyote Gourd (Cucurbita palmata)
Coyote Gourd (Cucurbita palmata) Coyote Gourd (Cucurbita palmata)
Coyote Gourd (Cucurbita palmata) Coyote Gourd (Cucurbita palmata)
Coyote Gourd (Cucurbita palmata) Coyote Gourd (Cucurbita palmata)
Coyote Gourd (Cucurbita palmata) Coyote Gourd (Cucurbita palmata)
Coyote Gourd (Cucurbita palmata) Coyote Melon (Cucurbita palmata)
Unusual Coyote Melon growing in a desert willow

Note: All distances, elevations, and other facts are approximate. Names generally follow the USDA database.
copyright; Last updated 170919

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