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Peritoma arborea

Plant Symbol = CLIS
Contributed by: USDA NRCS California State Office and California Plant Materials Center

Alternate Names
Common Alternate Names:
bladderpod, bladderpod, spiderflower, bladderbush, burro-fat
Scientific Alternate Names:
Cleome isomeris Greene [= Peritoma arborea var. arborea ] Isomeris arborea Nutt. [? Peritoma arborea var. arborea ] Isomeris arborea var. angustata Parish [? Peritoma arborea var. angustata ] Isomeris arborea var. globosa Coville [? Peritoma arborea var. globosa ]
Peritoma arborea (Nutt.) H. H. Iltis var. angustata (Parish) H. H. Iltis Peritoma arborea var. arborea H.H. (Nutt.) Iltis Peritoma arborea (Nutt.) H. H. Iltis var. globosa (Coville) H. H. Iltis

Wildlife: Bladderpod is used by upland game and songbirds, including quail for cover and forage (seeds) (CDFA,1976).
Flowers bloom for much of the year and are visited by native and introduced bees, making this a good pollinator and hedgerow plant.

Bladderpod is member of the Cappara ceae (Caper Family) and native to California (FNA, 2011; Hickman, 1993). It is a spherical shaped evergreen shrub 2-7 feet tall. The stems are profusely branched with corky bark on primary branches and smooth twigs. The alternate leaf is compound with petioles supporting three leaflets. The flowers are perfect, with green sepals half the length of the inflorescence, yellow petals and six stamens. The fruits are inflated capsules containing 5–25 seeds, which are are obovoid, dark brown and smooth.

The three subspecies are differentiated by the shape of the capsules. P. arborea var angustata capsules are narrowly fusiform. P. arborea var arborea has inflated capsules that are obovoid, while P. arborea var globosa has subglobose strongly inflated capsules (Itis & Cochrane, 2007).

The Diegueno Indians used the seeds and flowers for food (Hinton, 1975). The flowers were eaten boiled or sun-baked by the Kawaiisu (Zigmund, 1981)

Distribution : Bladderpod’s native range is southern California, Baja California, and Arizona from 200 to 4,000 feet inelevation. In California, it is found as far north as Fresno and Monterey counties. In the Bakersfield and Tehachapi regions, it can be found to an elevation of 4,000 feet.

P. arborea var angustata has a more southerly distribution, as far north as Kern and San Bernadino counties.
P. arborea var arborea is reported as far north as Fresno and Inyo counties.
P. arborea var globosa is more westerly to Monterey and Madera counties. (CalFlora, 2012)

Habitat: Bladderpod often grows on coastal bluffs, hilly terrain, desert washes, and disturbed areas.

Bladderpod is drought tolerant, well adapted to desert conditions and alkaline soils. It has a wide range of temperature tolerance from below freezing to over 100 degrees F. In cultivated plantings, P. arborea var arborea has been grown as far north as southern Butte County.

This shrub requires mechanical or chemical weed control during establishment. Elimination of weed competition on the planting site prior to direct seeding is essential for good stand establishment. Spring rains are sufficient to establish seedlings when directly seeded on deep soils. Plug and potted plants often require some summer water depending on the locality and planting date. Pests and Potential

There are no known disease problems with bladderpod. This shrub must have good weed during early establishment.

Environmental Concerns
There are no known environmental concerns with bladderpod.
Seeds and Plant Production
Seed may be collected from wild plants and propagation plantings by stripping pods from plants and extracting seed. Seed should be cleaned using an air-screen cleaner with a No. 14 screen on top and No.8 bottom screen. There are approximately 4,500 seeds per pound.

Plants are usually propagated by direct seeding into containers in a greenhouse. The seedlings develop at a rapid rate and should be moved into larger containers as they develop. Seedling plugs or one gallon container stock can be transplanted to the field at a 4-6 ft spacing in either the spring or fall. Irrigation may be required at transplanting, but once the plants are established for 1 or 2 years irrigation is no longer required.

Cultivars, Improved, and Selected Materials (and area of origin) ‘Dorado’(Peritoma arborea var. arborea) is a cultivar developed by Lockeford Plant Materials Center, Lockeford, CA. The plant material used to develop ‘Dorado’ was first collected in August 1966 near Gorman, CA at an elevation of 3800 feet. ‘Dorado’ grows best in soils with well-drained deep to moderately deep, medium to finely textured soils with a pH of 6.5 or higher. ‘Dorado’ is drought-tolerant and is able to survive extreme temperatures ranging from below freezing to over 100 F. Although it is best adapted to Southern California, ‘Dorado’ has been successful established in the Sacramento valley. ‘Dorado’ has shown excellent performance as a conservation plant on critical areas, upland game cover and food, and for environmental enhancement.

Calflora.2012. Berkeley, California: The Calflora Database. Available: (Accessed: Feb 02, 2012). California Department of Fish and Game/US Soil Conservation Service . 1976. ‘Bladderpod’ wildlife habitat leaflet no. 2. Compiled by Federal Aid Project W-47-R and Upland Game Investigation. Flora of North America, , FNA Vol 7 Page 199, 205, 206 (accessed 11/23/11) Hickman, J.C. (ed.). 1993. The Jepson manual . Universit y of California Press, Berkeley, CA. H in ton, L . 1975 . Notes on La Huerta Diegueno Ethnobotany. Journal of California Anthropology 2:214 - 222 (p. 217) . Iltis, H. H. & T. S. Cochrane. 2007. Studies in the Cleomaceae V: a new genus and ten new combinations for the flora of North America. Novon 17:447 – 451. USDA, ARS, 2011. National Genetic Resources Program. Germplasm Resources Information Network - (GRIN) [Online Database: http://www.ars - - bin/npgs/html/ 23 November 2011 )]. Natl . Germplasm Resource s Laboratory, Beltsville, Maryland. USDA - NRCS 2011 , ‘Dorado’ Bladderpod ( Peritoma arborea var. arborea ) . California Plant Materials Center. Lockeford , CA 95237 . Published [ October , 2011] Zigmond, Maurice L. 1981 Kawaiisu Ethnobotany. Salt Lake City. University of Utah Press (p. 35) Prepared By : Margaret Smither - Kopperl USDA NRCS Plant Materials Center, Lockeford, California Citation Smither - Kopperl, M. 2012. Plant G uide for bladderpod ( Peritoma arborea ) . USDA - Natural Resources Conservation Service, and Lockeford Plant Materials Center, Lockeford, CA 95237 Published: April, 2012 Edited: 01Jan2012jjm; 29Mar2012 jab; For more information about this and other plants, please contact your local NRCS field office or Conservation District at and visit the PLANTS Web site at or the Plant Materials Progr am Web site Plant & Wildflower Glossary

Bladderpod - Isomeris arborea
Photo taken at Joshua Tree National Park

Plant & Wildflower Glossary

Mojave Desert (wildflowers) Annuals - Desert Plants

... it isn't likely to survive to maturity. Three plants that seem to bloom even in poor years are the Bladderpod, Creosote Bush and the Jimson Weed or Datura.

Desert Scrub Wildlife Habitats

These species include catclaw acacia, desert agave, coastal bladderpod, white brittlebush, burrobush, white bursage, barrel and hedgehog cactus, branched ...

Ecological Subregions of California: M261Fd

Shrublands: Allscale series, Bladderpod - California ephedra - narrowleaf goldenbush series, Chamise series, Chamise - wedgeleaf ceanothus series, ...

Sierra Pelona - Mint Canyon: Southern California Mountains

... Birchleaf mountain-mahogany - California buckwheat series, Bitterbrush series , Black bush series, Bladderpod - California ephedra - narrowleaf goldenbush ...

Ecological Subregions of California: M261Fe

Shrublands: Allscale series, Bladderpod - California ephedra - narrowleaf goldenbush series, Chamise series, Chamise - wedgeleaf ceanothus series, ...

Trees & Shrubs in Zion

... Princesplume - Stanleya pinnata (Common) Wallflower - Erysimum capitatum Bladderpod - Lesquerella intermedia Utah bladderpod - Lesquetella utahensis ...

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