Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

Support the plant database you love!


Plant Database

Search for native plants by scientific name, common name or family. If you are not sure what you are looking for, try the Combination Search or our Recommended Species lists.

Enter a Plant Name:
Or you can choose a plant family:
Proboscidea louisianica (Louisiana devil's-claw)
Schwartzman, Steven

Proboscidea louisianica

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

24 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Annual
Habit: Herb
Leaf Retention: Deciduous
Fruit Type: Capsule
Size Notes: Up to about 2 feet tall.

Bloom Information

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


USA: 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 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


Propagation Material: Seeds
Description: Propagate by seed.
Commercially Avail: yes

Find Seed or Plants

Order seed of this species from Native American Seed and help support the Wildflower Center.

National Wetland Indicator Status

This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1 (Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here for map of regions.

From the National Organizations Directory

According 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 Bank

LBJWC-1175 Collected 2008-07-03 in Hays County by Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

1 collection(s) available in the Wildflower Center Seed Bank


Bibref 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 Reference

Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter

Additional resources

USDA: Find Proboscidea louisianica in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Proboscidea louisianica in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Proboscidea louisianica


Record Modified: 2022-12-07
Research By: NPIS, ADA

Go back