The photo above shows the large disc-shaped fruit of scale pod as seen along the Deschutes River Access Road along the lower Deschutes River downstream from Sherar's Bridge..........March 24, 2007.
Scale pod is a small annual wildflower which is often overlooked except for the large, oval but flattened fruit capsule (Seen at right.). One to several leafless scapes rise from a cluster of numerous basal leaves to heights from 3-13 cm. Individual leaves are ovate in shape with entire to pinnatifid margins, the distal segment much larger than the others if pinnatifid. The blades measure 5-15 mm long while the slender petioles are 1-3 times longer than the blades.
The flowers are solitary atop the leafless scapes and typically hard to see. The sepals are often red or purple in color and about 1.5-2 mm long. The white petals are about 1.5-2 mm long. Six stamens are present. The fruits are silicles which are oblong-oval to nearly orbicular in outline but fairly flattened in cross-section. The capsules are about 6-12 mm in diameter. While green, the capsules often have numerous long, parallel markings in red or purple (See photo at right.).
Scale pod is found on vernally moist ground, usually in the grasslands or amongst sagebrush from the valleys into the foothills.
Scale pod is found to the east of the Cascade Mts. from Washington south to California and east to Idaho and Nevada.
Scale pod in bloom at Tom McCall Nature Preserve........March 2, 1997.