Synonym: Platyspermum scapigerum
Scale pod as seen near the crest of the Columbia Hills in the eastern Columbia River Gorge..........early April, 2005.
Scale pod is is a minute wildflower that would be easily overlooked if it weren't for its interesting seed pods. The several stems rise from 3-13 cm in height from a basal rosette of leaves. The leaves have long, thin petioles which are about 1-3 times longer than the ovate blades. The leaf margins may either be entire or lyrate and the leaves are from 5-15 mm long.
The 4 sepals are red or purple, from 1.5-2 mm long. The 4 white petals are about the same length as the sepals. The seed pods are oblong-oval to almost round silicles, from 6-12 mm wide. As seen in the photo at right, the broad surface of the capsules may be marked with small purple-brown blotches. Scale pod is one of the early spring bloomers, blooming from March to April.
Scale pod is found on open ground, usually in grasslands, among sagebrush in the valleys and foothills.
Scale pod is found entirely east of the Cascade Mts. from Washington to California and east to Idaho and Nevada.
In the Columbia River Gorge, it may be found from Bingen, WA east to haystack Butte, between the elevations of 100'-3000'.
The photo above shows the basal cluster of leaves and many flower scapes of scale pod as seen near the crest of the Columbia Hills in the eastern Columbia River Gorge............early April, 2005.