Whittier Narrows


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  • Common Gourd


    Common Gourd  (Cucurbita foetidissima)  has other common names, such as Stinking Gourd or Calabazilla.  It is often confused with Coyote Gourd, but this last one has palmated leaves.  The plant has male and female flowers, the female flowers becoming rounded dull green gourds, growing on trailing vines anywhere from 3 to 15 feet around.  As the name suggests, it has a bad smell.  The roots and pith of the gourd were crushed for soap or shampoo, or applied to ulcers and sores for people as well as horses.  A tea was used to dispel worms and the ground seeds produce a strong purgative that can be fatal.  Supposedly,  the top of the  plant cures ailments of the head and the roots cure ailments of the feet.