The Bladderpod or Isomeris arborea is a colorful shrub that grows to about four feet tall and is smothered with showy, bright yellow flowers at the start of the wildflower season. It is attractive in the garden as well, but needs excellent drainage and rather poor soil. This is one of the first of the Southern California wildflowers to burst into bloom at the beginning of the wildflower season. When it is done blooming it sports curious inflated, papery sacks that hold the seeds. If you shake the pods you can hear the seeds rattle around inside. It is said you can eat the seed much like capers. These plants love the burning heat of the chaparral and the desert, but will also bask in the salt sprays of the ocean so long as their roots don’t get too much water.
Here’s a little video I puffed out after scaling a steep bluff in search of one of the first blooming plants at the end of this winter. Pardon the fact I am a bit short of breath. It was a big climb!
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