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Proboscidea louisianica - (Mill.)Thell.

Common Name Unicorn Plant, Ram's horn
Family Martyniaceae
USDA hardiness 9-11
Known Hazards None known
Habitats River banks and waste places[43]. Naturalized as a weed in Portugal and S.E. Russia[50].
Range Southern N. America - Indiana to Iowa, Utah, Texas and New Mexico.
Edibility Rating    (2 of 5)
Other Uses    (2 of 5)
Weed Potential Yes
Medicinal Rating    (0 of 5)
Care (info)
Tender Moist Soil Full sun
Proboscidea louisianica Unicorn Plant,  Ram


USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database
Proboscidea louisianica Unicorn Plant,  Ram
biolib.de

 

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Summary


Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of flower
Proboscidea louisianica is a ANNUAL growing to 1 m (3ft 3in).
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 10 and is frost tender. It is in flower from July to September. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs).
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: mildly acid, neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map

Synonyms

P. louisiana. Martynia louisiana.

Plant Habitats

 Cultivated Beds;

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Fruit  Oil  Root  Seed
Edible Uses: Oil

Young fruits, harvested whilst still tender enough to be pierced with a fork, can be sliced and added to soups as a thickening agent[85, 183]. They can also be parboiled and eaten as a vegetable or pickled in vinegar[183]. They are sometimes pickled when immature[1, 27, 61]. The fruit is about 4 - 6mm long[200]. Seed - raw or cooked. High in protein[183] and in oil[207]. An edible oil is obtained from the seed[183]. Root[2]. No more details are given.

References   More on Edible Uses

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.


None known

References   More on Medicinal Uses

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Other Uses

Basketry  Dye  Oil

A black dye can be obtained from the seedpods[257]. The long pointed seed capsule horns can be used as the black pattern material in coiled basketry[257].

Special Uses

Scented Plants

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

Requires a well-drained porous soil in a warm sheltered position[200]. A frost-tender species, it can be grown outdoors in Britain as a half-hardy annual. This species is closely related to P. fragrans[200]. This species has occasionally been cultivated as a food crop[207, 274].

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

Temperature Converter

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Plants For A Future have a number of books available in paperback and digital form. Book titles include Edible Plants, Edible Perennials, Edible Trees,Edible Shrubs, Woodland Gardening, and Temperate Food Forest Plants. Our new book is Food Forest Plants For Hotter Conditions (Tropical and Sub-Tropical).

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Plant Propagation

Seed - sow spring in a warm greenhouse. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out after the last expected frosts[200].

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther
Proboscidea fragransSweet Unicorn Plant, Ram's hornAnnual0.6 9-11  LMHNM201

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.

 

Expert comment

Author

(Mill.)Thell.

Botanical References

43200235

Links / References

For a list of references used on this page please go here

Readers comment

Eddie   Sun Mar 9 18:55:11 2003

Link: The "Big Bird" bush an artist's experience with the unicorn plant

Dr Stonker   Mon Feb 6 2006

I , doctor John Hughbert Stonker , find this information astounding and feel better going to sleep at night knowing it's accesible to me and my many slave labourers , i thank you good people.

Linda   Mon Mar 5 2007

Yea, but what am I supposed to do when the stupid dried seed heads are found in the bales of hay I purchased to feed my animals! It will injure them and I sure as heck do not want it growing on my land!

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Subject : Proboscidea louisianica  
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