Thursday, February 21, 2008


One of my favorite plants of the desert is Devil's Claw, or Proboscidea parviflora. The prongs on end of the seed pod hook onto animals, which then disperse the seeds as they move along. Although I still look for them while in the desert, I haven't found any in many years.

As children we would search the desert floor, gathering as many as we could find. The curved prongs have hooks on the end that are similar to a fish hook. They would hook our shoes, clothes and fingers. We always came home with many bloody puncture wounds. We would paint some of them, form some into balls and see who could make the longest chains. The seed pod contains about 50 seeds. By the time we found them they had already split open and the seeds were scattered. There are two tails, and the tiny hooked head is formed as you break it from the plant.

I've tried making a pinwheel like the one in the photo, but after 2 hours of getting poked, I gave up and just purchased the one shown at a nature store in Yarnell, Arizona.

I have used Devil's Claw as embellishments on my crafted gourds. They have a southwestern look, and I usually favor that style in my gourd crafting.


No Rain said...

Devil's Claw is mean. You have to really, really like it to work with it as you've done. Did you know that Devil's Claw is related to the Unicorn Plant (Proboscidea althaeifolia,) which also grows in the desert? The Unicorn Plant has beautiful yellow flowers and is sometimes called Yellow Devil's Claw. It has the same seed pod configuration, but will sometimes have 4 prongs--2 on each side of the pod instead of one.

Hawk woman said...

That looks evil.