Saturday, April 17, 2010

Bladderpod Spiderflower

In early April I drove to the Cottonwood entrance of Joshua Tree National Park with Andrew and Lauren, then we drove to Hayfield Road, a little further east, and did a hike up to Carey's Castle. A big beautiful bush that caught our eye was the bladderpod spiderflower, also known as the bladderpod and coastal bladderpod (isomeris arborea). The one below was photographed near the Cottonwood Grove in Joshua Tree growing on a rock wall.
We stopped at a little quarter-mile nature trail near the Joshua Tree entrance and I found Andrew at one of these plants
opening up the pods
and eating what looked like peas.
My initial thought was to hope that they were not toxic (they aren't). It appears that they were initially limited to California, but have also spread into Arizona. I read that they have an an odd or ill scent, although I don't recall noticing the smell when we were near them. One site said the seed pods look like paper lanterns.
They were gorgeous and very plentiful on the bajada south of the mountain range (north of the freeway). We only saw a few on our hike to Carey's Castle, particularly in the initial part of the wash that led into the canyon we followed. Ironically, what drew my attention was a member of a Sierra Club hike opening up a pod and looking at the seeds. Their yellow flowers
really stand out
as they are relatively large and are clustered together.

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