Contact Us Host an Event 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

Saturday - August 30, 2014

From: Albuquerque, NM
Region: Southwest
Topic: Plant Identification, Problem Plants
Title: Seed pod of Proboscidea louisianica (Deveil's claw) in New Mexico
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I found the most amazing seed pods of the devil's claw right here in Albuquerque. I thought it was a wood skeleton of a pterodactyl (flying dinosaur, I believe), but heard it's a devil's claw. Okay, why is it here in central NM? I heard it's more like Gila area. Then on top of it all, I keep finding little goat's head type stickers on my carpet. Ouch!

ANSWER:

There are four species of Proboscidea that, according to the USDA Plants Database, grow in New Mexico (click on Subordinate Taxa in the menu to see the different species):

Proboscidea parviflora (Doubleclaw) occurs in Bernalillo County.  Here are more photos and information from Arizona Wild Flowers.

Proboscidea louisianica (Louisiana devil's-claw) occurs in eastern counties of New Mexico.  The USDA Plants Database shows the nearest county to Bernalillo County where this species occurs is Guadalupe County.  Here are more photos and information from Southeastern Arizona Wildflowers.

The USDA Plants Database distribution map for Proboscidea althaeifolia (Desert unicorn-plant)  shows Socorro County to be the nearest county to Bernalillo County where it occurs.  Here are photos and more information from Southeastern Arizona Wildflowers.

The USDA Plants Database distribution map for Proboscidea sabulosa (Sanddune unicorn) also shows Socorro County to be the nearest county to Bernalillo County where it occurs.  Here are photos and more information from New Mexico Rare Plants.

Curiously, Proboscidea spicata (New Mexico unicorn-plant) occurs only in Texas and not in New Mexico.  You can see a line drawing and read a description of it in Rare Plants of Texas:  A Field Guide by Jackie Poole et al. 2007. Texas A&M Press. p. 409.

In order to see the county distribution for each species, click on the general distribution map on the USDA Plants Database page for each species and use the sliding bar on the map to magnify the map.  Clicking on the map and moving the cursor will change the location.

Now, I can't say for sure which one you found in Albuquerque, but I'd put my money on P. parviflora.

As for the goat's head sticker on your carpet, check the shoes you wear outdoors as well as your dog(s) and cat(s).  One of those is the culprit bringing them inside!  Here is information from UC Davis IPC Online about managing one likely suspect, Tribulus terrestris (Puncturevine), an invasive from southern Europe.

 

From the Image Gallery


Sweet unicorn plant
Proboscidea louisianica ssp. fragrans

Louisiana devil's-claw
Proboscidea louisianica

Louisiana devil's-claw
Proboscidea louisianica

Louisiana devil's-claw
Proboscidea louisianica

More Plant Identification Questions

Identity of red flower that looks like a blue bell
May 31, 2013 - Looking for the name of a flower that grows in Breckinridge county Kentucky. It's looks similar to the blue bell but blood red in color. Any help is appreciated.
view the full question and answer

Possible identification of Hydrocotyle bonariensis
July 01, 2007 - I went to Pedra Island two years ago I saw a plant that grew around the beach. It has a perfectly round leaf that has the stem in the middle of the back side of the leaf. It has small yellow flowers. ...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification of tree on Kent State University in Ohio
August 09, 2011 - Hello. I am fond of a very large (wide) tree on a university campus in Ohio. I have tried many plant ID search engines to try to figure out what it is. It is at least 12 feet tall and at least that ...
view the full question and answer

Identification of bushes with red berries in Tennessee
January 31, 2012 - I was recently traveling thru Clarksville, TN and saw these bushes (at the shopping mall) that had clusters of small red berries on them. They were not a Holly that I know of. The leaves were not th...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification for Redding, CA
August 11, 2012 - I have a volunteer plant that has dull green leaf with tiny white flowers that turn into a small black berry the size of a raisin. Can you identify it? I live in Redding, Ca. They are popping up in th...
view the full question and answer

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

Bibliography

Rare Plants of Texas: A Field Guide (2007) Poole, J. M.; Carr, W. R.; Price, D. M.; Singhurst, J.R.

Search More Titles in Bibliography