Coyote melons appear in the Anza Valley

Coyote melon fruits are typically about the size of a tennis ball. Anza Valley Outlook/Diane Sieker photo
Coyote melons, also called buffalo gourds and calabazilla, are ripening in the Anza Valley, nestled in large beds of leafy vines. The pretty yellow blossoms of early summer have given way to tennis ball-sized fruits. Cucurbita foetidissima is a flowering plant that’s part of the squash family and is the local species of this herbaceous perennial wild gourd.Coyote melons are a member of the Cucurbitaceae family, which includes cucumbers and several types of gourds. It is a vine with leaves that are 8 to 10 inches long and arranged 4 to 5 inches alternately along the stem. The leaves give off a strong, acrid scent. The stems trail along the ground and range from 6 to over 10 feet in length, spreading in all directions.T
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