PLANT: Erect or spreading annual to 2.5 m across and 1 m high. LEAVES: simple; petioles to 25 cm long or more; blades broadly triangular-ovate to subobicular-ovate, cordate or inequilateral, rounded to obtuse at apex, to 25 cm long and nearly as broad, the margins entire to shallowly 3- to 7-lobed, the sinuses obtuse, denticulate. INFLORESCENCE: slender racemes to 2.5 dm long at maturity. FLOWERS: 5-15 per inflorescence; pedicels 1.5-3 cm long in anthesis, lengthening in fruit to about 45 mm; pedicel bract obovate to oblanceolate, 3-5 mm long; calyx bracts ovate to elliptic 3-5 mm wide; calyx 1-1.5 cm long, the lobes unequally cut one fourth to one half its length; corolla tubular-campanulate, only slightly ventricose, 2.5-4 cm long, viscidglandular without and slightly so within; corolla tube reddish-purple, pink, or white, with a bright yellow band extending along the lower portion of tube and out onto lower lobe; corolla lobes the same color as the tube but the upper lobes frequently with a single large purple or reddish-purple blotch, the upper and lateral lobes wideflaring or reflexed; filaments glandular at or below point of attachment, glabrous above; anthers 2.8-5.0 mm long; pistil as long as or longer than the stamens. FRUIT: body ellipsoid, 5-10 cm long, 1.5-3 cm thick and strongly keeled ventrally, the horns about 1 to 3.5 times as long as the body. NOTES: 3 subsp., 1 in AZ; CA, NV, NM, TX; n Mex. REFERENCES: Raul Gutierrez Jr., 2007, Vascular Plants of Arizona: Martyniaceae. CANOTIA 3 (2): 26-31.
Wiggins 1964, VPAP (Gutierrez 2007), Allred and Ivey 2012
Duration: Annual Nativity: Native Lifeform: Forb/Herb General: Annual herbs, to 1 m high and 2.5 m wide, from small, poorly developed roots; stems erect to spreading, thick and semisucculent, densely viscid-pubescent. Leaves: Opposite along the stems, on long petioles to 25 cm long or more; blades 12-25 cm long, broadly ovate, the margins with 3-7 shallow lobes and the base shallowly cordate (heart-shaped) and sometimes asymmetrical. Flowers: Lavender and asymmetrical, in a few-flowered raceme at the top of the stem, the raceme up to 35 cm long but often shorter with the flowers somewhat hidden among the large leaves; sepals 10-15 mm long, fused into a spathe-like tube, with 5 irregular lobes at the top and a single slit all the way down the lower (abaxial) side; corolla 3 cm long, bell-shaped (tubular-campanulate) and 2-lipped, glandular-pubescent, and reddish-purple, pink, or white, with a bright yellow nectar guide extending along the lower portion of the tube and out along the lower lobe; upper corolla lobes often with a single large purple or reddish-purple blotch. Fruits: Hook-shaped capsule, green, succulent, and glandular-pubescent when fresh; woody and splitting open longitudinally when dried; the body (seed-containing portion) of the capsule 5-7 cm long and 2 cm diameter; the claw at the end of the capsule strongly curled, 10-15 cm long; seeds obovoid, blackish, warty. Ecology: Found on sandy and gravelly soils, fields, roadsides, and disturbed areas, from 1,000-5,000 ft (305-1524 m); flowers from March-October. Distribution: c CA, s NV, UT, AZ, NM, s TX; south to n MEX. Notes: A distinct herb, densely glandular-hairy all over; with large ovate leaves; especially distinct are the snapdragon-esque pink flowers which resemble an open mouth with a yellow nectar guide inside; also unmistakable are the devils-claw fruits, which, when young, are wet-glandular, have a rank smell, and vaguely resemble green chiles, and when mature are hard, woody and split into two claws. Distinguished from other species in the genus by being annual (P. althaeifolia is perennial) and not having spots or blotches on the inside of the corolla tube, or if there are any blotches of color inside the corolla tube, they are on the lower surface. There are two varieties in the US. Var. parviflora is the wild type, with black seeds. Var. hohokamiana is the descendent of a strain that was cultivated by the Hohokam for basketry fiber, and has white seeds and larger fruit. Once classified in the sesame family, Pedaliaceae, it is classidied as Martyniaceae under APG IV. Ethnobotany: Widely eaten, both seeds and fruit. When young, fruit is similar to okra. Mature fruit used for basketry fiber. Etymology: Proboscidea is from Greek proboskis, elephant's trunk; parviflora mean small-flowered. Synonyms: Martynia parviflora, Proboscidea crassibracteata Editor: SBuckley 2010, FSCoburn 2015, AHazelton 2017