Devils Claws
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Devils Claws
ative Photo: Thingnam Girija
Common name: Devil's Claws, Tiger's Claw • Hindi: उलट-कांटा Ulat-kanta, बाघनख Baghnakh • Malayalam: Puli - Nakham • Tamil: Puli - Nagam • Marathi: Vinchu • Bengali: Baghnoki
Botanical name: Martynia annua    Family: Martyniaceae (devil's claw family)

These interesting plants are called devil's claws. They produce strange seed pods that attach to the feet and legs of large animals, and include some of the largest hitchhiker fruits in the world. Bushy annual herb to 2 m high. Leaves kidney-shaped to circular, mostly 6–15 cm wide, both surfaces equally hairy, margins with shallow lobes; leaf stalk 9–14 cm long. Pod green and fleshy at first, drying to a black woody capsule. Seeds brown to black, 2 to each pod. Distinguished by leaves and stems covered with sticky glandular hairs; leaves pumpkin-like; flowers tubular, 4–6 cm long, predominantly white to pink with 5 spreading lobes at the apex, each lobe with a prominent purple spot, throat with red and yellow spots, fertile stamens 2; pod to 4 cm long and to 1.5 cm wide, with recurved claws about 1 cm long. Flowers in several flowered racemes. Flowers are bell shaped, purplish white, with dark purple markings. The yellow lines in the corolla throat are nectar guide lines to direct pollinator bees to the nectar source.

Identification credit: Tabish Photographed on Rishikesh-Joshimath highway, Uttarakhand.

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