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Vascular Plants of California
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Proboscidea lutea

Higher Taxonomy
Family: MartyniaceaeView Description 
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

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.
Reference: Bretting 1982 Amer J Bot 69:1531--1537
Proboscidea lutea (Lindl.) Stapf
Habit: Annual. Leaf: blade 10--20 cm wide, blade +- rounded, angled or not, entire to dentate. Inflorescence: few--many-flowered, generally exceeded by leaves. Flower: sepals free, upper 3 narrower; corolla yellow, often with orange tinge, generally with darker markings. Fruit: body 3--4 cm wide, ovate, short-spiny. Chromosomes: 2n=30,32.
Ecology: Uncommon. Open, disturbed places; Elevation: < 500 m. Bioregional Distribution: GV, SnFrB, expected elsewhere; Distribution Outside California: native to South America. Flowering Time: Jul--Aug
Synonyms: Ibicella lutea (Lindl.) Eselt.
Jepson eFlora Author: Margriet Wetherwax & Lawrence R. Heckard
Reference: Bretting 1982 Amer J Bot 69:1531--1537
Index of California Plant Names (ICPN; linked via the Jepson Online Interchange)

Previous taxon: Proboscidea louisianica subsp. louisianica
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Botanical illustration including Proboscidea lutea

botanical illustration including Proboscidea lutea


Citation for this treatment: Margriet Wetherwax & Lawrence R. Heckard 2012, Proboscidea lutea, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on May 27, 2022.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2022, Jepson eFlora,, accessed on May 27, 2022.

Proboscidea lutea
click for enlargement
© 2007 Barry Rice
Proboscidea lutea
click for enlargement
© 2014 Neal Kramer
Proboscidea lutea
click for enlargement
© 2006 Barry Rice
Proboscidea lutea
click for enlargement
© 2014 Neal Kramer
Proboscidea lutea
click for enlargement
© 2007 Barry Rice
Proboscidea lutea
click for enlargement
© 2014 Neal Kramer

More photos of Proboscidea lutea in CalPhotos

Geographic subdivisions for Proboscidea lutea:
GV, SnFrB, expected elsewhere
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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).


Data provided by the participants of the  Consortium of California Herbaria.
View all CCH records
All markers link to CCH specimen records. The original determination is shown in the popup window.
Blue markers indicate specimens that map to one of the expected Jepson geographic subdivisions (see left map). Purple markers indicate specimens collected from a garden, greenhouse, or other non-wild location.
Yellow markers indicate records that may provide evidence for eFlora range revision or may have georeferencing or identification issues.

CCH collections by month

Duplicates counted once; synonyms included.
Species do not include records of infraspecific taxa, if there are more than 1 infraspecific taxon in CA.
Blue line denotes eFlora flowering time (fruiting time in some monocot genera).