By Jake Landers
Published August 2012
Its flowers are as beautiful as an orchid, its seed pods as weird as a flying fish. Devil’s Claw is a successful native plant that will be with us as a weed for a long time. You are as likely to find it growing in a waterlot on the ranch or in a cotton field on the Lipan Flats near Wall, Texas. Like most weeds it thrives on soil disturbance whether from hoof action or plow. Livestock do not touch it, but herbicides, with persistence, can do it in.
Like Bluebonnets, Devil’s Claw must come up from seed every time it grows. Both have seeds that may last in the soil for many years before they germinate. Also, Devil’s Claw seeds germinate with late spring, early summer temperatures, instead of the cool sunny days of fall and winter when the Bluebonnets do. It can become a weed in a cotton field because it may not germinate until cotton is up too big for cultivation or it can survive the preemergence herbicides. Before “over-the-top” herbicides became available, Devil’s Claw had to be controlled by hoe or hand pulling, neither job would have appealed to most farmers.Add a comment