Annual herb to 0.6 m tall and 2 m wide Stem: thick, branched, sprawling-ascending, covered with glandular hairs, foul-scented. Leaves: opposite, upper leaves sometimes alternate, long-stalked, to 25 cm long, rounded to kidney- or heart-shaped, irregularly wavy to non-toothed, covered with dense glandular hairs, foul-scented. Flowers: borne in clusters (racemes) of eight to twenty. The petals are dull white to lavender with spotted purple and yellow, 3.5 - 5.5 cm long, fused into a tube that is swollen on one side, somewhat two-lipped, and five-lobed. Fruit: a four-chambered capsule with a fleshy outer covering, the covering splitting along two lines to separate from the woody center, 10 - 20 cm long, with two long curved beaks at the tip.
Similar species: Proboscidea louisianica is represented by one subspecies in the Chicago Region. See link below for further information.
Flowering: July to September
Habitat and ecology: Introduced from farther south. This species is rare in the Chicago region, growing in open areas with sandy soil.
Occurence in the Chicago region: non-native
Notes: This species is sometimes cultivated to make pickles.
Etymology: Proboscidea means snout-like, referring to the long beaks of the fruit. Louisianica means "from Louisiana."
Densely glandular-pubescent annual, beginning to bloom when only 1-2 dm, but becoming coarse, freely branched, and sprawling-ascending, to ca 6 dm tall and 2 m wide; lvs long-petioled, subrotund to reniform-cordate, irregularly sinuate to entire, the later ones to 25 cm; racemes mostly 8-20-fld; cal 1 cm or more, somewhat accrescent, but deciduous; cor 3.5-5.5 cm long and wide, dull whitish or yellowish, mottled and spotted with purple, or golden-yellow and marked with vermilion; fr 1-2 dm. A common weed in much of s. and c. U.S., frequently in cattle feed-lots, native perhaps as far n. as Ind., cult. for its curious frs (used as pickles) and occasionally escaped as far n. as Minn. and Me. (Martynia l.)
Gleason, Henry A. & Cronquist, Arthur J. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. lxxv + 910 pp.