Desert Unicorn Plant [Proboscidea althaeifolia (Benth.) Dcne.]

Desert Unicorn Plant [Proboscidea althaeifolia (Benth.) Dcne.]

Listing CNPS List 4 R-E-D Code 1-1-1

State/Federal. Status -- None MARTYNIACEAE May-Aug.

Global Rank G4G5 State Rank S?

Distribution: San Diego County, Imperial County, Riverside County; Arizona; New Mexico; Baja California and Sonora, Mexico

Habitat: Sonoran Desert Scrub is the general habitat of this very distinctive perennial with peculiar horn-like fruits. At Vallecitos it was found on deep, alluvial sands.

Known Sites: One large plant was found growing near Vallecitos close to Highway S-2. This conspicuously flowered and fruited species is undoubtedly rare in San Diego County deserts. Herbarium specimens were seen from east of June Wash, Agua Caliente Springs, and north of Sweeney Pass. Old reports include Bow Willow, Canebrake Canyon, and Carrizo Wash. Additional herbarium specimens are from the Chocolate Mountains Aerial Gunnery Range in Imperial County; Yuma, Tucson, Maricopa, Pinal, Yavapai, and Cochise counties in Arizona; Albuquerque, New Mexico; and Sonora, Mexico. Reported by Shreve and Wiggins south into Sinaloa, Mexico.

Seventeen specimens are found in the San Diego Natural History Museum for Baja California; south to 22 52' North where collected by Moran (SD 50296) south of La Viga at Cape San Lucas.

Status: Desert Unicorn Plant is presumed stable on the southern deserts, given the limited habitat loss of sandy desert plains and washes. However, most populations apparently occur outside of California. All California populations are recommended for protection.


Copyright May 1994 Craig H. Reiser.

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