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Proboscidea louisianica (Mill.) Thell.
Louisiana Devil's-claw, Devil's claw, Ram's-horn, Unicorn Plant, Proboscis Flower
Pedaliaceae (Sesame Family)
Synonym(s): Proboscidea louisiana
USDA Symbol: prlo
USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (I)
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 "devil's claw"). The fruits are collected and used in nature crafts.
From the Image Gallery
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Annual
Leaf Retention: Deciduous
Size Notes: Up to about 2 feet tall.
Bloom InformationBloom Color: White , Pink , Yellow , Purple
Bloom Time: May , Jun , Jul , Aug , Sep
DistributionUSA: AL , AR , CA , CO , CT , DC , DE , FL , GA , IA , ID , IL , IN , KS , KY , LA , MA , MD , ME , MI , MN , MO , MS , NC , NE , NH , NJ , NM , NV , NY , OH , OK , OR , PA , RI , SC , SD , TN , TX , VA , VT , WA , WV , WY
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 ConditionsWater Use: Low
Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Dry
Soil pH: Acidic (pH<6.8)
Soil Description: Moist, sandy soils. Sandy, Sandy Loam
BenefitUse 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
PropagationPropagation Material: Seeds
Description: Propagate by seed.
Commercially Avail: yes
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National Wetland Indicator Status
From the National Organizations DirectoryAccording to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:
Fredericksburg Nature Center - Fredericksburg, TX
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - Austin, TX
Texas Discovery Gardens - Dallas, TX
Wildflower Center Seed BankLBJWC-1175 Collected 2008-07-03 in Hays County by Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
BibliographyBibref 765 - McMillen's Texas Gardening: Wildflowers (1998) Howard, D.
Bibref 248 - Texas Wildflowers: A Field Guide (1984) Loughmiller, C. & L. Loughmiller
Bibref 328 - Wildflowers of Texas (2003) Ajilvsgi, Geyata.
Bibref 286 - Wildflowers of the Texas Hill Country (1989) Enquist, M.
Search More Titles in Bibliography
Web ReferenceWebref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter
Additional resourcesUSDA: Find Proboscidea louisianica in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Proboscidea louisianica in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Proboscidea louisianica
MetadataRecord Modified: 2022-12-07
Research By: NPIS, ADA