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What Is This Plant With Strange Claw-like Seed Pod

Ask the Expert: what is this plant?

I have a plant that came up beside my deck and I have asked several people and no one has been able to help me. I’ve attached several photos of the plant. I’d greatly appreciate any help you can give me. Thanks so much. T

Flower Shop Network Plant Expert Reply:

What you have is Proboscidea louisianica. It is commonly called unicorn plant, common devil’s claw, ram’s horn. It is often found in the open plains of tropical North, Central and South America.

The Devil’s Claw produces funnel-shaped, creamy white-purplish flowers with reddish purple and marked yellow within the throats. After the plant blooms crested, boat-shaped fruit (seed pods) will follow. The fruit can be dried and used in winter arrangements.

This plant can be found in the following states: AL, AR, CA, CO, CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, IA, ID, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MS, NC, NE, NH, NJ, NM, NV, NY, OH, OK, OR, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, VA, VT, WA, WV, WY). It can be found in the following provinces of Canada: ON, SK

As with many plants – one man’s precious flower is another man’s noxious weed. In Indiana this plant is listed as a threatened and endangered plant. However, Washington would love to eradicate this noxious weed.

It isn’t a plant you would want to grow if you have small children or pets. The plant has a unpleasant smell and a resinous slime that you can’t easily wash off.  The seed pods as they dry become a problem. They will snag on to one’s skin or clothing and hang on.  Gnats, small flies and beetles are attracted to the plant, but much to their detriment.

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