Cucurbita foetidissima is a tuberous xerophytic plant found in the central and southwestern United States and northern Mexico. It has numerous common names, including: buffalo gourd, calabazilla, chilicote, fetid gourd, fetid wild pumpkin. The type specimen was collected from Mexico by Humboldt and Bonpland sometime before 1817.
C. foetidissima requires little water and grows best in semiarid and arid environments. Warm weather is required during the five- to eight-month vegetation period. This perennial is well adapted to marginal agricultural lands such as sandy loam soils which have to be well-drained. Germination temperature range is between 15 °C and 37 °C with an optimum at 25 °C.
The leaves are typically entire and heart-shaped with a base of 10–13 cm (4–5 in) and length of 20–25 cm (8–10 in). The flowers are borne singly at the nodes of the vines after a certain amount of annual vegetative growth has taken place.
The fruit has a diameter of 7–10 cm (3–4 in). The fruit weighs 120 g to 150 g, with 292 to 315 seeds per fruit. The seeds, which are 12 mm (0.5 in) long and 7 mm (0.3 in) wide, weigh about 4 g per 100 seeds, with the seed coat accounting for about 30% of the seed weight. The seeds often remain viable for months or even years within an undamaged gourd. One hectare of plants can produce 2.5 tons of seed.
C. foetidissima is native to North America in the central and southwestern United States (Arizona; Arkansas; southern California; Colorado; Kansas; Missouri; southern Nebraska; southern Nevada, New Mexico; Oklahoma; Texas; and southern Utah) and Mexico