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Margriet Wetherwax & Lawrence R. Heckard

Annual, perennial herb, glandular-hairy, generally strongly scented. Leaf: simple, opposite or alternate; stipules 0; petiole long. Inflorescence: raceme, terminal, bracted; bractlets 2, just below flower. Flower: bisexual; sepals 5, ± unequal; corolla 2-lipped, generally 5-lobed; stamens epipetalous, generally 2 long, 2 short, 1 vestigial; ovary superior, 1-chambered, placentas 2, parietal, 2-lobed, style > ovary, curved, stigma 2-lobed, flat, generally closing when touched. Fruit: capsule, drupe-like; outer layer fleshy, deciduous; inner layer ultimately exposed, woody, tip incurved, splitting to form 2 claws.
4 genera, 16 species: generally ± tropical America; some cultivated. [Wagstaff & Olmstead 1997 Syst Bot 22:165–179] No evidence that insects stuck to glands are digested. —Scientific Editor: Thomas J. Rosatti.
Unabridged references: [Angiosperm Phylogeny Group II 2003 Bot J Linn Soc 141:399–436; Hevly 1969 Taxon 18:527–534; Bretting & Nilsson 1988 Syst Bot 13:51–59]

Taproot branched or tuberous. Stem: prostrate to spreading, generally < 1 m. Leaf: blade broadly ovate to round or triangular, palmately veined (generally palmately lobed), base cordate. Inflorescence: bractlets < calyx. Flower: calyx 1–2 cm, generally 5-lobed, split to base on lower side, or sepals free; corolla 2–5 cm, bell- to funnel-shaped, showy, tube cylindric, generally < 1 cm, bent downward, throat 10–30 mm, limb with 5 flared lobes, throat and lower limb with colored lines (nectar guides). Fruit: body 5–10 cm, fusiform, smooth, rough, or spiny, crested with branched projections generally only along upper suture; claws 1.5–3 × body. Seed: 8–13 mm, angled, generally black, corky.
8 species: America. (Greek: elephant's trunk) [Bretting 1982 Amer J Bot 69:1531–1537] Fruit dispersed by attachment of claw to animals. Proboscidea parviflora subsp. parviflora not in California according to some reports, naturalized in California according to others.
Unabridged note: All California material previously identified as Proboscidea parviflora subsp. parviflora belongs instead to Proboscidea parviflora var. hohokamiana Bretting, according to some but not all reports; in California only in cultivation according to some reports, naturalized in California according to others; in Arizona cultivated by Native Americans for fibers from fruit.

Key to Proboscidea

P. louisianica (Mill.) Thell. subsp. louisianica
Annual; taproot in width ± = stem base. Leaf: blade generally 5–20 cm wide, broad-triangular to round, entire to shallowly indented. Inflorescence: 20–40-flowered, exceeding leaves. Flower: calyx 5-lobed, lower 3 > upper; corolla white with ± purple tinge, darker markings. Fruit: body 1.5–3 cm wide, narrowly ovate, spines 0. Seed: 7–9 mm.
2n=30. Uncommon. Open, disturbed areas; < 500 m. Outer North Coast Ranges, Inner North Coast Ranges, Great Central Valley, Outer South Coast Ranges, South Coast, Peninsular Ranges, cultivated elsewhere; to south-central United States (where perhaps native), eastern United States. Widely cultivated as novelty. May–Aug [Online Interchange]

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Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2013. Jepson eFlora,, accessed on Nov 28 2015
Citation for this treatment: [Author of taxon treatment] 2013. Proboscidea, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on Nov 28 2015

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click for enlargement Proboscidea louisianica subsp. louisianica
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1973 Dean Wm. Taylor

Geographic subdivisions indicated for the distribution of Proboscidea louisianica subsp. louisianica Markers link to CCH specimen records. If the markers are obscured, reload the page [or change window size and reload]. Yellow markers indicate records that may provide evidence for eFlora range revision or may have georeferencing or identification issues.
map of distribution 1
(Note: any qualifiers in the taxon distribution description, such as 'northern', 'southern', 'adjacent' etc., are not reflected in the map above, and in some cases indication of a taxon in a subdivision is based on a single collection or author-verified occurence).

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Data provided by the participants of the Consortium of California Herbaria.
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CCH collections by month

Duplicates counted once; synonyms included.
Species do not include records of infraspecific taxa.
Blue line denotes eFlora flowering time.