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PlantFiles: Desert Unicorn-plant, Golden Devil's Claw
Proboscidea althaeifolia

Family: Pedaliaceae
Genus: Proboscidea (pro-bosk-ee-DEE-uh) (Info)
Species: althaeifolia (al-thay-uh-FOH-lee-a) (Info)

10 members have or want this plant for trade.


6-12 in. (15-30 cm)

Unknown - Tell us

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)

Sun Exposure:
Unknown - Tell us

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:
Gold (Yellow-Orange)
Pale Yellow
Bright Yellow

Bloom Time:
Mid Summer


Other details:
Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Soil pH requirements:
Unknown - Tell us

Patent Information:
Unknown - Tell us

Propagation Methods:
Unknown - Tell us

Seed Collecting:
Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds
Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds

Click thumbnail
to view:

By carnivoration
Thumbnail #1 of Proboscidea althaeifolia by carnivoration

By scirpidiella
Thumbnail #2 of Proboscidea althaeifolia by scirpidiella

By scirpidiella
Thumbnail #3 of Proboscidea althaeifolia by scirpidiella


1 positive
No neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive kaled On Dec 9, 2007, kaled from Tucson, AZ (Zone 9a) wrote:

The Desert Devil's Claw is a native plant in Tucson and surrounding areas. In my experience they seem to love sandy soil but don't seem to like harder mineral rich soil. This plant produces a sizeable tuber which can be transplanted durring the plants dormant period. It seems like this plant likes to remain dormant until monsoon season. That is a period of time in Tucson where the day time temps are around 100 and the humidity rises a bit and we have frequent evening thunder storms. The plant tends to go back into dormancy after monsoon season if it is not irrigated and even then it tends to go dormant when the day time temperatures start to cool into the 80's.

If the conditions are not right, this plant can skip seasons and remain dormant.

The plant spreads by producing seed pods that look like two or four finger claws. I was surprised at how effective this method of spreading is as I occasionally end up with one of these claws clutching my shoe or pant leg. I can see these things being spread by animals who get "grabbed" by the hind leg and end up wondering a bit before they get a chance to get the claw to let go.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Hereford, Arizona
Tucson, Arizona
Elephant Butte, New Mexico

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