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Finger-leaf Gourd

Cucurbita palmata

Cucurbita palmata photo © by Michael Plagens

Photographed at Joshua Tree National Park, California, May 2010.

VINE: Herbaceous vine which may ascend into trees or shrubs or else trail along the ground with branched tendrils latching onto supports. Stems may reach several meters in length.

LEAVES: Leaves are palmately five-lobes. The pale veins contrast sharply with the dark green leaf color.

RANGE: Sonoran Desert in western Arizona and California. It tends to favor sites with deep soil that are occasionally saturated during the winter rains.

FRUIT: A spherical gourd. Paler variegated stripes on darker green as the gourd matures to yellow-brown.

FLOWERS: Tubular yellow flowers open briefly with five-pointed corolla. Separate male and female flowers are borne on the same vine. Mid to late spring is flowering period.


Cucurbitaceae -- Gourd Family

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Copyright Michael J. Plagens, 1999-2011