Devil's Claw (Ibicella or Proboscoidea)

From: Ted A. Hadley (
Date: Mon Feb 15 1999 - 07:32:17 PST

Date: Mon, 15 Feb 1999 07:32:17 -0800
From: "Ted A. Hadley" <>
Message-Id: <aabcdefg447$foo@default>
Subject: Devil's Claw (Ibicella or Proboscoidea)

Hi All,

I just want to add some notes about the Devil's Claw (Ibicella or
Proboscoidea) and its native environment in the Sonoran Desert of southern
Arizona. As a Tucson (AZ) native, my family always collected the dried seed
pods of the Devil's Claw for decorations and craft projects. This plant is
common in S. AZ, almost to the point of being troublesome in some areas.

Tucson gets 7 inches of rain annually.
Ajo gets about 5 inches of rain annually
Rain seasons: wet winter, wet summer. Dry, humid late spring. Very dry
Summer high temps: 110 F (common), 115 F (uncommon, maybe 10 days per
year), 120 F rare
Summer low temps: 70 F (rare), 80 F (common), 90 F (uncommon)
Winter high temps: 75 F (common), 80 F (uncommon), 85 F (rare)
Winter low temps: 15 F (rare), 20 F (common), 25 F (frequent)
elevation: Tucson: 2500 feet, Ajo about 1000 feet

sandy with rocks and clay (unconsolidated). Very little humus or other
organic matter. The mineral makeup is acidic in geochemical terms: quartz,
plagioclase, muscovite, biotite, almandine, some amphiboles and magnetite.

common in sandy washes (seasonal rivers). The plants are most abundant at
elevations above 2500 feet, up to about 4000 feet maximum. By growing in
dry washes, they receive much more water than the rainfall statistics
indicate; the dry washes are usually damp 12 inches below the surface year
round. In the vicinity of my sister's home (Catalina, AZ, elevation about
3200 feet), the plants make impenetrable masses in the Canada del Oro wash.
They are considered a weed and often destroyed in disturbed areas of the

The plants do not grow in forest, chaparral, or grassy plains. They are
known to me only in the desert areas. They always seem to have full sun
(and in the desert, that's LOTS of sun!).

I found some dried seed pods while vacationing there last week and
extracted about 20 seeds. I will try growing them at my new home in
Sunnyvale, CA.

Ted Hadley

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