What is Coyote Melon
Below is a transcription of the above sign found at the Valley of Fire Visitor Center.
Coyote Melon – Cucurbita palmata
ADAPTATION FOR SURVIVAL
Like other gourds, sprawling stems up to 10 feet (3 m) long hug the ground, avoiding winds and yielding to flood waters.
Widespread root system helps resist tug of infrequent floods, gathering enough water to produce large fruit up to 4 inches (10 cm) in diameter.
Both male and female flowers grow on same plant, ensuring pollination.
Gravelly banks and washes, disturbed soils along roadsides.
Up to 7000 ft (2300 m)
TYPE OF SOIL
Well-drained gravels and sands
SOURCE OF WATER
6 to 8 inches (15 to 20 cm)
Coyotes like the fruit, hence the name.
Indians cooked the fruits or dried them for winter use, making a mush from the seeds.
California pioneers crushed the roots to use in washing clothes, but skin irritation resulted if the garments were not well rinsed.