Devil's claw - purple-flowered (Proboscidea louisianica)

Purple-flowered devil's claw is a short annual plant with woody horn-like seed capsules. It competes with pastures and the capsules can seriously injure livestock.


How does this weed affect you?

This plant is known to infest pastures reducing carrying capacities. The woody seed capsules cause injury to stock, and may restrict feeding if lodged on the face, leading to eventual death from starvation. The capsules also attach to hooves causing lameness, and to wool reducing quality.

Purple-flowered devil’s claw is native to America.

What does it look like?

An annual herb growing to 50 cm tall covered with sticky hairs.

Leaves are rounded or heart shaped, 10–16 cm long and 14–25 cm wide.

Flowers are trumpet-shaped, creamy-white to mauve or purple with dark purple and orange markings. Flowers are present summer to autumn.

The woody capsule is 8–10 cm long and  1–2 cm wide with two woody horns that are 10–25 cm long. 

Where is it found?

Purple-flowered devil's claw is found across many areas of NSW west of the Great Dividing Range. It has also been found on the central coast.

It is native to North America. 


Parsons, W.T., & Cuthbertson, E. G. (2001). Noxious weeds of Australia. CSIRO publishing.

PlantNET (The NSW Plant Information Network System). Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain Trust, Sydney. Retrieved 2021 from

More information

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Herbicide options

Users of agricultural or veterinary chemical products must always read the label and any permit, before using the product, and strictly comply with the directions on the label and the conditions of any permit. Users are not absolved from compliance with the directions on the label or the conditions of the permit by reason of any statement made or not made in this information. To view permits or product labels go to the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority website

See Using herbicides for more information.

2,4-D LV ester 680g/L (Estercide® Xtra)
Rate: 1.15 to 1.7 L per ha
Comments: Boom spray application, before pods form. For non-legume pastures.
Withholding period: Do not graze or cut for stock food for 7 days after application.
Herbicide group: 4 (previously group I), Disruptors of plant cell growth (Auxin mimics)
Resistance risk: Moderate

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Biosecurity duty

The content provided here is for information purposes only and is taken from the Biosecurity Act 2015 and its subordinate legislation, and the Regional Strategic Weed Management Plans (published by each Local Land Services region in NSW). It describes the state and regional priorities for weeds in New South Wales, Australia.

Area Duty
All of NSW General Biosecurity Duty
All pest plants are regulated with a general biosecurity duty to prevent, eliminate or minimise any biosecurity risk they may pose. Any person who deals with any plant, who knows (or ought to know) of any biosecurity risk, has a duty to ensure the risk is prevented, eliminated or minimised, so far as is reasonably practicable.

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For technical advice and assistance with identification please contact your local council weeds officer.

Reviewed 2024