PLANT: Erect or spreading annual to 2.5 m across and 1 m high. LEAVES: simple; petioles to 25 cm long or more; blades broadly triangular-ovate to subobicular-ovate, cordate or inequilateral, rounded to obtuse at apex, to 25 cm long and nearly as broad, the margins entire to shallowly 3- to 7-lobed, the sinuses obtuse, denticulate. INFLORESCENCE: slender racemes to 2.5 dm long at maturity. FLOWERS: 5-15 per inflorescence; pedicels 1.5-3 cm long in anthesis, lengthening in fruit to about 45 mm; pedicel bract obovate to oblanceolate, 3-5 mm long; calyx bracts ovate to elliptic 3-5 mm wide; calyx 1-1.5 cm long, the lobes unequally cut one fourth to one half its length; corolla tubular-campanulate, only slightly ventricose, 2.5-4 cm long, viscidglandular without and slightly so within; corolla tube reddish-purple, pink, or white, with a bright yellow band extending along the lower portion of tube and out onto lower lobe; corolla lobes the same color as the tube but the upper lobes frequently with a single large purple or reddish-purple blotch, the upper and lateral lobes wideflaring or reflexed; filaments glandular at or below point of attachment, glabrous above; anthers 2.8-5.0 mm long; pistil as long as or longer than the stamens. FRUIT: body ellipsoid, 5-10 cm long, 1.5-3 cm thick and strongly keeled ventrally, the horns about 1 to 3.5 times as long as the body. NOTES: 3 subsp., 1 in AZ; CA, NV, NM, TX; n Mex. REFERENCES: Raul Gutierrez Jr., 2007, Vascular Plants of Arizona: Martyniaceae. CANOTIA 3 (2): 26-31.
Duration: Annual Nativity: Native Lifeform: Forb/Herb General: Densely viscid-pubescent annual with spreading branches to 1 m long, roots small and poorly developed, stems and petioles thick and semisucculent. Leaves: Larger leaves 12-30 cm, petioles as long as broadly ovate blades that are shallowly lobed. Flowers: Few-flowered, pedicels 1-2 cm long at anthesis, corolla 3 cm, pale lavender with purple blotches and white-and-yellow nectar guides. Fruits: Body of capsule 2 cm in diameter, 5-7 cm long, claws 10-15 cm, seeds obovoid, blackish warty. Ecology: Found on sandy and gravelly soils, fields, roadsides, and disturbed areas; 1,000-5,000 ft (305-1524 m); flowers from March-October. Distribution: c CA, s NV, UT, AZ, NM, s TX; south to n MEX. Notes: A distinct herb, densely glandular-hairy all over; with ovate leaves; especially distinct are the pink flowers which resemble an open mouth with a yellow nectar guide inside; also unmistakable are the devils-claw fruits, which, when young, are wet-glandular and have a rank smell and when mature are hard, woody and split into two claws. Ethnobotany: Widely eaten, both seeds and fruit. When young, fruit is similar to okra. The more common cultivated varieties have much longer claws than the wild annual, but both have wide usage in basketry and as food. Etymology: Proboscidea is from Greek proboskis, elephant-s trunk, while parviflora is from Greek parvus, small and flora, flower. Synonyms: Martynia parviflora, Proboscidea crassibracteata Editor: SBuckley 2010, FSCoburn 2015