Rent Shop Volunteer Join

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

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

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

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

Plant identification
October 20, 2010 - Need to identify multi branched plant, feathery appearance, approx 6' tall stalks, grows in clusters. Tiny whitish/pink flowers at top of stems. Very similar in appearance to milfoil, only these grow...
view the full question and answer

Looking for pink star grass (Rhodohypoxis milloides)
June 23, 2008 - I am looking for a wildflower/plant called Pink Star Grass (common name). I am not sure what the proper name is. Can you help me with this? I would like information on it, and also would like to pu...
view the full question and answer

Plant ID from Apex NC
June 16, 2012 - Can you identify this plant? It is growing in our backyard in Apex, North Carolina. Picture of plant is here: https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/ZLJzQZyqq0dkU2HJQe50A9MTjNZETYmyPJy0liipFm0?fea...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification
July 24, 2010 - Purchased foliage plant - no one knows its name. Leaves (stems) are bright green and 10" tall. Has "babies" like a spider plant but leaves (stems) are wider and thicker. Has a "rib" to them in...
view the full question and answer

Plant Identification
June 29, 2011 - I live in east Austin Texas, close to Manor. I was pulling a particular "weed" out of the cracks of my driveway on 06-12-11. This weed has always reminded me of moss rose, but the flowers are not as...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.