Proboscidea sabulosa Correll
Family: Martyniaceae
Proboscidea sabulosa image
Eugene, (Gene) Sturla  
Correll and Johnston 1970, Allred and Ivey 2012, Gutierrez 2012, NM Rare Plant Technical Council Website
Duration: Annual Nativity: Native Lifeform: Forb/Herb General: Sprawling annual herb, up to 40 cm tall and 120 cm wide; stems much-branched; herbage viscid-pubescent throughout. Leaves: Opposite along the stems, on thickened petioles 10 cm long; blades triangular-ovate to broadly subreniform (kidney-shaped), to 12 cm long and wide, with a heart-shaped base and undulate (wavy) margins. Flowers: Red-purple and asymmetrical, in a short, crowded few-flowered raceme at the top of the stem, with the flowers somewhat hidden among the large leaves; sepals 5, unequal, 10-15 mm long, fused at the base but free for the upper 3/4 of their length; corolla 2 cm long, cylinder-shaped and 2-lipped, sparsely glandular, the tube cream-colored with reddish spots and a bright yellow nectar guide; corolla lobes reddish-purple. Fruits: Capsules hook-shaped, green and succulent when fresh; woody and splitting open longitudinally when dried; the body (seed-containing portion) of the capsule 7 cm long and 2 cm diameter; the claw at the end of the capsule strongly curled, about 14 cm long; seeds spindle-shaped, 15 mm long, more than 3 times as long as wide. Ecology: Found in deep sand, from 2,500-6,000 ft (762-1829 m); flowers July-August. Distribution: w TX and e NM Notes: An annual unicorn-plant, AKA devil's-claw; look for the distinctive hooked seed pods, which resemble long curled green chiles when fresh and become woody and split open lengthwise when dried. The flowers are purple and white, attractive and 2-lipped, but are relatively small and usually hidden among the large leaves. Distinguish this species from other annual Proboscidea spp. based on the red-purple spots on the inside of the corolla tube (P. parviflora a large blotch on the lower lip of the corolla but usually no spots inside the tube); and the smaller tubular-shaped corolla, about 2 cm long; with smaller racemes of 3-8 flowers (P. louisianica has larger bell-shaped corollas, and racemes with 20-30 flowers). Ethnobotany: Fruits and seeds are edible. Etymology: Proboscidea is from Greek proboskis, elephant's trunk; sabulosa means sandy or gravelly in Latin, referring to the species' sandy habitat. Editor: AHazelton 2017