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Published In: Icones Plantarum, Edition Keller 49–52, pl. 12–13. 1763. (18 Oct 1763) (Icon. Pl., ed. Keller) Name publication detail

Project Name Data (Last Modified On 8/25/2017)
Acceptance : Accepted

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1. Proboscidea Schmidel (unicorn plant, proboscis flower) (Bretting, 1981)

Six to 8 species, North America to South America.

Fibers from the ripe fruit walls of some species, particularly P. parviflora (Wooton) Wooton & Standl., are used by native Americans in the southwestern United States and Mexico in basketry, and the species has a history of domestication for this purpose (Bretting, 1981; Nabhan et al., 1981). The immature fruits of some species have been pickled or cooked for human consumption and the seeds are sometimes eaten raw. Some species are also cultivated as garden ornamentals and the unusual mature fruits used in dried flower arrangements. The unusual large “devil’s claw” fruits in this genus are dispersed by becoming attached to large mammals. In some cases, these fruits have caused injury to the legs and mouthparts of livestock and there are reports of cattle starving to death when fruits became attached to their mouth parts and prevented feeding (Bretting, 1981). Fruits that become tangled in the fur of sheep can also interfere with shearing for wool.

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