Proboscidea louisianica (Devil’s Claw) [10 Seeds]


Germination Information: Growing devil’s claw from seed can be super-easy or a real exercise in patience. I recommend sowing indoors in a pot, about 1/2 inch deep, and setting the pot on a heat mat. Some years, I have waited for months for even one seedling to appear. In 2020, I sowed five seeds on April 7; one emerged on April 27, another popped up in early June, after I had transplanted the pot to my garden, and two more showed up in late June. You may have heard the germination of some seeds described as being “slow and erratic”—that goes double for this one!

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Devil’s claw (Proboscidea louisianica), also known as unicorn plant and ram’s horn, grows in somewhat sprawling clumps usually around 3 feet tall and 4 to 5 feet wide, with thick stems and broad, furry, sticky leaves. Tubular pinkish blooms with yellow-brushed centers develop into large, plump, green-skinned fruits with a long, tapering tail. As each fruit matures, the fleshy skin eventually splits and falls off or rots, leaving behind a hard, dark seedpod. And as that dries further, the tail splits into several parts that curl back, revealing the knobbly, white seeds inside. The pods are quite interesting and can be useful for crafts or natural decorations.

Now, a few cautions. First, the dried seedpods are very hard, and the pointy-tipped, curved tails can hook into the hair and feet of pets, livestock, and wild animals, so you don’t want to plant them near a pasture or anywhere critters can get near them. Also, I have seen varying reports about its native range, but now, at least it appears throughout much of the US. It can self-sow, sometimes to the point of becoming weedy, and is considered a noxious weed in Washington state. So, keep all that in mind before ordering.

Harvested in September and October 2020. At least 10 seeds.


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