Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - The University of Texas at Austin information

 Native Plant Database

Proboscidea louisianica

Louisiana Devil's-claw, Devil's-claw, Ram's horn, Unicorn plant, Proboscis flower

Pedaliaceae (Sesame Family)

Proboscidea louisianica (Louisiana devil's-claw)
Schwartzman, Steven
Ramís-horn or devilís claw is a low, spreading, bushy plant, 1-2 ft. tall, with large, long-stemmed, palmately lobed leaves. Leaves, 5-inches across and up to 1 foot long, covered with glandular nectar which often collects sand particles. Its creamy-yellow, tubular, five-lobed flowers are spotted with purple and appear in few-flowered, axillary clusters after summer rains. The fruit is a fleshy, curved pod that splits into two claws when it dries.

The name unicorn plant refers to the remarkable fruits. These are at first fleshy, the flesh later falling away, leaving an inner woody shell tipped by a long, curved beak (the horn of the unicorn). The beak splits lengthwise, and the shell opens between the two parts of the split beak. These fruits are easily caught on the legs of deer, rabbits, and cattle or hooked in the wool of sheep by their spreading claws (thus the name devils claw). The fruits are collected and used in nature crafts.

Image Gallery:

23 photo(s) available

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Annual
Habit: Herb
Size Class: 1-3 ft.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White , Pink , Yellow , Purple
Bloom Time: May , Jun , Jul , Aug , Sep


USA: AL , AR , CA , CO , CT , DE , FL , GA , ID , IL , IN , IA , KS , KY , LA , ME , MD , MA , MI , MN , MS , MO , NE , NV , NH , NJ , NM , NY , NC , OH , OK , OR , PA , RI , SC , SD , TN , TX , VT , VA , WA , WV , WY , DC
Native Distribution: Native to TX, Mex. & possibly LA; naturalized in the s.e. and as far n. as ME & MN
Native Habitat: River banks; meadows; waste areas

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Low
Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Dry
Soil pH: Acidic (pH<6.8)
Soil Description: Moist, sandy soils. Sandy, Sandy Loam


Use Ornamental: The fruits are collected and used in nature crafts.
Use Food: This plant is often cultivated for the fruit, which is pickled and eaten like okra.
Fragrant Flowers: yes
Interesting Foliage: yes
Nectar Source: yes

Last Update: 2013-08-23