Saturday, April 25, 2020

Paperbag Bush

For the third Saturday in a row, I went out into the Sonoran Desert to shake the home-bound Covid-19 claustrophobia. It was much hotter this week, 93 degrees when I left, so I went early, but stayed longer. 

One of my more exciting finds was the paperbag bush, also known as the Mexican bladdersage. I saw it ten years ago, but I don't believe I've seen it since. It is very distinctive from a distance and when I saw it I knew immediately what it was. 
I found several of the bushes near each other at the base of some jagged hills on the south side of I-15 near Hayfield Road. 
Many of the bladders were quite pink. When I saw them previously they were more white. 
The bushes were also larger than what I remember seeing before. 
It starts out with two-lipped flowers that develop in pairs facing away from each other. The upper lip is white to light violet and is hairy. The lower lip is three-lobed and intense dark violet. 
Here is a good photo of the flowers in pairs facing away from each other. 
And another. This also shows pink bladders and drier white bladders. 

As the flower ages the bladder begins around the base of the flower and surrounds it. The bag begins pinkish and then dries out and turns white as it ages. The dried flower eventually falls out the hole in the end. 

1 comment:

  1. I love all the color and form changes. It's like three plants in one! The light-pink versions look like tiny Japanese paper lanterns--so delicate.