Proboscidea is a genus of flowering plant in the family Martyniaceae, some of whose species are known as devil's claw, devil's horn, ram's horn, or unicorn plant. The plants produce long, hooked seed pods. The hooks catch on the feet of animals, and as the animals walk, the pods are ground or crushed open, dispersing the seeds. The name devil's claw is shared with the South African plant Harpagophytum procumbens.


Unripe pods of P. Parviflora chopped with onions on a cutting board.

The fruits of all species are edible before they ripen and become woody. They can be steamed and eaten much like okra. Some species (particularly P. parviflora) are used in basket weaving by the Tohono O'odham who have selected for varieties with longer "claws."[1] The Chemehuevi also use devil's claw pods in basketry.[2] The Hia ced O'odham and the Tohono O'odham eat the seeds, which in ancient times provided an important source of dietary oils.


Species include:

Proboscidea lutea is a synonym of Ibicella lutea.


  1. ^ a b "Devils Claws". Retrieved 18 March 2018.
  2. ^ "Basket Jar". Metropolitan Museum of Art. 2020.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)

External links