Jepson Flora Project: Jepson Interchange    

 
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Jepson Interchange (more information)
©Copyright 1993 by the Regents of the University of California

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  • Up-to-date information about California vascular plants is available from the Jepson eFlora.

MARTYNIACEAE

UNICORN-PLANT FAMILY

Lawrence R. Heckard

Annual, perennial herb, glandular-hairy, generally strongly scented
Leaves 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, each 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; beak incurved, splitting to form 2 horns (claws)
Genera in family: 3 genera, 15 species: generally ± tropical Am; some cultivated. Placed by some authors in Pedaliaceae (Sesame Family)
Reference: [Bretting & Nilsson 1988 Syst Bot 13:51–59]

PROBOSCIDEA

UNICORN PLANT, DEVIL'S CLAW

Annual, perennial herb; 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 and 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 flaring lobes, throat and lower limb with colored lines ("nectar guides")
Fruit: body 5–10 cm, fusiform; surface sculptured or spiny throughout, crested with branched projections generally only along upper suture; beak (claws) 1.5–3 X body
Seed 8–13 mm, angled, generally black, corky
Species in genus: 8 species: Am
Etymology: (Greek: beak)
Dispersed by attachment of fruit claw to animals.

Native

P. althaeifolia (Benth.) Decne.

DESERT UNICORN PLANT

Perennial; root fusiform, tuber-like, yellow
Stem decumbent
Leaf: blade 3–7 cm wide, broadly ovate to round or triangular, generally palmately 3–5-lobed, crenate
Inflorescence 5–50-flowered, generally overtopping leaves
Flower fragrant; corolla bright yellow to orangish, maroon-brown-streaked on lower lobe and spotted in 2 rows along upper side of throat; nectar guides orange-yellow
Fruit: body ± 1 cm thick, upper crest with distal teeth sometimes extended into 2 slender, accessory beaks; sometimes also crested along lower suture
Seed 6–7 mm
Ecology: UNCOMMON. Sandy places
Elevation: < 1000 m.
Bioregional distribution: Sonoran Desert
Distribution outside California: to Texas, n Mexico, Peru
Flowering time: Summer
Synonyms: P. altheaefolia (Benth.) Decne
Horticultural information: SUN, DRN, DRY: 7, 14, 15, 16, 17 &IRR: 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24.
See the CNPS Inventory for information about endangerment and rarity.
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bioregional map for PROBOSCIDEA%20althaeifolia being generated
 


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