Devil's Claw - Ram's Horn - Martynia
Pediliaceae (Sesame) Family
Until recently the plant was known in the Unicorn Plant family; however, recent scientific studies have placed it in the family Pediliaceae (Sesame).
Plant is an upright annual herb; branching from near the base; rarely more than three feet tall. Preferred habitat is rich woods, slopes and moist meadows. Distribution is throughout the Escambia region except directly at seashore.
Leaves are opposite near the base and alternate at the top; heart-shaped to roughly kidney-shaped; up to six inches wide; margins have no teeth and no lobes, but could present a slight deviation sinus effect. Leaf stalks are large and stout.
Flower petals are united into one bell-shaped structure; no more than three inches long, with a crooked stalk that droops laterally with the stalk (downward); variable colors but usually pale to dark lavender with a yellow streak arising from the throat. Flowers occur in the summer.
Fruit is a pod similar to okra with a long beak that extends four to six inches beyond the tip; hooked; drying into a black capsule.
The curved claw of the fruit splits open when dry, forming two hooks that catch in the fur or ears of livestock, thus the name Devils Claw.
The fruit of Unicorn Plant is edible and may be pickled like cucumber or okra.