En EspaŅol
Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Mr. Smarty Plants - Identification of plant with seed heads like goat head

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Sunday - February 17, 2013

From: Golden Meadow, LA
Region: Southwest
Topic: Plant Identification
Title: Identification of plant with seed heads like goat head
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Sir, I collected some bizarre seed heads from some rough weeds around a stock tank in SE New Mexico. They resemble goat heads, with two long curving horns. I have photos but couldn't figure out how to send. I'd very much like these to be ID'd. Thanks.

ANSWER:

This sounds like one of the unicorn plants (Ram's Horns or Devil's Claws), Genus Proboscidea.  There are four species that occur in New Mexico, three of which occur in our Native Plant Database.  Without flowers or leaves you probably won't be able to determine which of the species your seed cases are from, but you can see exactly where each has been found in New Mexico by clicking on New Mexico on the distribution map for each of the species on its USDA Plants Database page:

  1. Proboscidea althaeifolia (Desert unicorn-plant)  Here are photos and more information from Southeastern Arizona Wildflowers and Southwest Environmental Information Network and photos from CalPhotos BerkeleyDistribution map for New Mexico.
  2. Proboscidea louisianica (Devil's claw)  Here are photos and more information from Southeastern Arizona Wildflowers and from W. J. Beal Botanical Garden at Michigan State University and photos from Southwest Environmental Information NetworkDistribution map for New Mexico.
  3. Proboscidea parviflora (Doubleclaw) Here are more photos and information from Southeastern Arizona Wildflowers and Southwest Environmental Information NetworkDistribution map for New Mexico.
  4. Proboscidea sabulosa (Sanddune unicorn-plant)  This one doesn't occur in our Native Plant Database and it is considered rare in New Mexico.   You can see more information and a photo of the flowers on New Mexico Rare Plants and photos from Southwest Environmental Information Network. Distribution map for New Mexico.

Here is an interesting article about the Devil's Claws from Wayne's World.

 

From the Image Gallery


Louisiana devil's-claw
Proboscidea louisianica

Louisiana devil's-claw
Proboscidea louisianica

Doubleclaw
Proboscidea parviflora

More Plant Identification Questions

Need to identify hemp-like plant in Bastrop, TX.
June 09, 2014 - What is the large stalky, hemp-like plant that populates our creek bottoms and ditches here in Central Texas? It has large 5-6 in. lobed leaves, and a fibrous central stalk that gets up to 7 ft tall. ...
view the full question and answer

Two-leafed trilliums
June 17, 2012 - Turns out our 2 leafed plant IS a trillium..I saw that another person from our town also asked about trilliums..we are happy to have them, but it is confusing when the third upper leaf is absent or ve...
view the full question and answer

Plant Identification
August 15, 2008 - My father-in-law received seeds from a friend-- he didn't know what kind of plant it would grow. Now he questions what kind of plant it is-- it has a red stalk and 17 inch leaves, it appears to grow...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification
July 08, 2010 - Found in a cedar swamp near Wolverine Michigan. Large dinner plate size flat green leaf on a mottled green and brown fleshy stem of about 8 or 10 inches. I first thought it was a tri-leaf plant but it...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification from photos
April 11, 2008 - I have 3 photos of the same plant, and no one knows what it is. Can I send you the photos, they are small jpegs, for identification? Thank you.
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center