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Proboscidea althaeifolia
DESERT UNICORN-PLANT

Higher Taxonomy
Family: MartyniaceaeView Description 

Common Name: UNICORN-PLANT FAMILY
Habit: 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.
Genera In Family: 4 genera, 16 species: generally +- tropical America; some cultivated. Note: No evidence that insects stuck to glands are digested.
eFlora Treatment Author: Margriet Wetherwax & Lawrence R. Heckard
Scientific Editor: Thomas J. Rosatti.
Genus: ProboscideaView DescriptionDichotomous Key

Common Name: UNICORN-PLANT
Habit: 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.
Species In Genus: 8 species: America. Etymology: (Greek: elephant's trunk) Note: 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.

Proboscidea althaeifolia (Benth.) Decne.
NATIVE
Habit: Perennial herb; taproot fusiform, tuber-like, in width > stem base, yellow. Stem: decumbent. Leaf: blade 3--7 cm wide, broad-ovate to round or deltate, generally palmately 3--5-lobed, crenate. Inflorescence: 5--50-flowered, generally exceeding leaves. Flower: calyx 5-lobed, lower 3 > upper; corolla yellow to orange with various darker markings. Fruit: body +- 1 cm wide, lanceolate, spines 0. Seed: 6--7 mm.
Ecology: Sandy places; Elevation: < 1000 m. Bioregional Distribution: se DMoj, DSon; Distribution Outside California: to Texas, northern Mexico, Peru. Flowering Time: May--Aug
Synonyms: Proboscidea altheaefolia (Benth.) Decne., orth. var.
eFlora Treatment Author: Margriet Wetherwax & Lawrence R. Heckard
Jepson Online Interchange
Listed on CNPS Rare Plant Inventory

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Citation for this treatment: Margriet Wetherwax & Lawrence R. Heckard 2017. Proboscidea althaeifolia, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora, http://ucjeps.berkeley.edu/cgi-bin/get_IJM.pl?tid=101279, accessed on October 22, 2017.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2017. Jepson eFlora, http://ucjeps.berkeley.edu/IJM.html, accessed on October 22, 2017.


Proboscidea althaeifolia
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© 2016 Keir Morse
Proboscidea althaeifolia
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© 2016 Keir Morse
Proboscidea althaeifolia
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© 2016 Keir Morse
Proboscidea althaeifolia
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© 2013 Neal Kramer
Proboscidea althaeifolia
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© 2011 Neal Kramer
Proboscidea althaeifolia
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© 2011 Neal Kramer

More photos of Proboscidea althaeifolia in CalPhotos


Geographic subdivisions for Proboscidea althaeifolia:
se DMoj, DSon;
Markers link to CCH specimen records. Yellow markers indicate records that may provide evidence for eFlora range revision or may have georeferencing or identification issues. Purple markers indicate specimens collected from a garden, greenhouse, or other non-wild location.
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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.