Santa Monica Mountains Trails Council Plants Resource Page

Plant of the Month - Bladderpod

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Plant Description

Common Name(s):Bladderpod
Scientific Name:Peritome arborea
Plant Type:Shrub
Size:up to7 feet
Habitat:Coastal Bluffs, hillsides, oak woodlands
Blooms:January to December

Bladderpod is one of the few plants in our mountains that blooms nearly year-round. Its bright yellow showy flowers are about a half-inch to an inch in diameter, with 4 petals and 6 stamens. The flowers are attractive to hummingbirds, bees and butterflies, and the plant also provides some shelter for various birds and insects. The distinctive seedpod for which the plant is named is up to 2 inches long with a swollen, drooping appearance and pointed tip. The pod is about the same blue-green color as the leaves at first but as it ages it becomes more tanned and sometimes a bit transparent. Bladderpod's narrow leaves are oblong with pointed tips, about half an inch to an inch long and form in leaflets of 3. The stems are woody. The plant has a pungent odor that most describe as unpleasant.

It has been suggested that Bladderpod is a fire retardant plant and will not burn over an open flame. Once established it is also very drought tolerant.

The genus name Isomeris means divided into equal parts, referring to the seed pod. The species name arborea refers to the plant's tree-like appearance.

Originally featured: November 2009
Last modified: May 12 2017 23:40:48.
Wildflowers of the Santa Monica Mountains, by Milt McAuley
Flowering Plants: The Santa Monica Mountains, Coastal and Chaparral Regions of Southern California, by Nancy Dale
Images Botanical Terms for Leaves