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Devil's Claw, Doubleclaw, Unicorn Plant

Proboscidea parviflora

Details & Attributes


Plant Type(s) Annual
Native to Arizona Yes!
Water Needs Low-moderate
Sun Full sun, partial shade
Pollinators Bumblebees, carpenter bees
Has Spines No
Size
In relative feet, width by height
2-4' × 2-4'
Freeze Tolerant No
Flowering Season March-October
Flower Color Pink with a yellow nectar guide
Minimum Temperature Range 30 °F
Leaf Description Opposite, heart shaped, often with wavy margins
Fruit A hairy green capsule which dries and peels back, revealing a dark grey pod with two sharp, recurved hooks.
View on SEINet View SEINet Entry
Range Map View SEINet Range Map
Elevation Range 1000-5000 ft.
Ethnobotany Widely eaten, both seeds and fruit. When young, fruit is similar to okra. Mature fruit used for basketry fiber.
Description It's not uncommon, that strolling the Sonoran Desert near towns like Phoenix or Tucson, you will come across a strange primeval looking artifact that resembles the recurved claws of some long extinct beast. These strange looking hooks are the dried seedpod of devil's claw, a summer annual with hairy, heart shaped leaves, tubular pink flowers, and the strange pod which ends up laying on the desert floor waiting to snag passers by. Proboscidea parviflora prefers well draining, sandy soils, but with a little moisture and humidity it can tolerate many different sites and soil conditions. In habitat these plants tend to be no more than a couple of feet tall but can get relatively large with supplemental irrigation. The blooms make this a worth while plant to cultivate, and the seed pods make it one of the most unusual wildflowers of the Sonoran Desert.