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  
Other Uses  
Weed Potential Yes
Medicinal Rating  
Tender Moist Soil Full sun

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Proboscidea louisianica Unicorn Plant,  Ram

Proboscidea louisianica Unicorn Plant,  Ram
Physical Characteristics
 icon of manicon of flower
Proboscidea louisianica is a ANNUAL growing to 1 m (3ft 3in).
It is hardy to zone (UK) 10 and is frost tender. It is in flower from Jul to September. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs)Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist soil.

P. louisiana. Martynia louisiana.

 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.
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


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].
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].
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
Found In
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 NameEdibility RatingMedicinal Rating
Proboscidea fragransSweet Unicorn Plant, Ram's horn20


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Botanical References
Links / References
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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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