Botswana: Devil’s Claws

This bizarre and beautiful plant is endemic to Kalahari desert and most of Botswana (after all, Botswana is mostly desert except for the annual flooding of the Okavango delta and surrounding areas). Harpagophytum procumbens in Latin, the plant has underground tubers that lay dormant most of the dry season and then shoot climbing stalks with huge rose and purple flowers that bloom in open sandy areas. The fruits are big as well, and have peculiar hooks on them, hence the name – Devil’s Claw. The plant is highly valued for its medicinal anti-inflammatory characteristics and both tubers and fruits are collected and exported in huge amounts from Botswana.