[The Mustard Family in the Columbia
River Gorge of Oregon and Washington]
Flatpod, Oldstem Idahoa, Scalepod, Scale Pod
Synonym: Platyspermum scapigerum
Scale pod as seen near the crest of the Columbia Hills in the
eastern Columbia River Gorge..........early April, 2005.
Pod of Idahoa scapigera
at right, from lower Deschutes River, OR.....March 22, 1997.
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 a young scale pod which
is just beginning to bloom. The flowers of this species are very small and easy
to miss. Photographed from basalt scablands along the old highway about one
mile east of Celilo, OR..........February 12, 2006.
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.
Close-ups of the seed pods of scale pod as seen in upper Swale Canyon, Klickitat County.........May 8, 2010.
Scale pod in bloom about one hundred meters up along the road to the old Klickitat County dump from the Crawford Oaks trailhead, Columbia Hills State Park..........February 18, 2015.
Two close-up views of scale pod as seen in bloom at a rock outcrop on the west side of Interstate 84 just northwest of the Chenoweth Exit outside The Dalles, OR.......February 14, 2009. In bloom, this species is barely noticeable as the flowers don't open much more than seen here. The plants are more easily seen later in the season when the attractive fruits develop.
Maturing seed pods of scalepod as seen biscuit-swale lands along the Bickleton Highway west of Rock Creek, Klickitat County, WA.........May 17, 2014.
Scale pod in bloom on a mossy basalt outcrop next to the Klickitat Trail just southwest of the Pitt Trailhead........February 26, 2012.
Scale pod blooming (left) as seen south of Old Highway 30 about one-half mile west of Marsh Cutoff Road, Columbia River Gorge............. February 7, 2016. The photo at right shows the basal leaves of scale pod and spring whitlow-grass (Draba verna) at the same location as the photo at left............. February 7, 2016 .
Scale pod blooming left on moist slopes to the east of Canyon Creek, Klickitat Wildlife Area...........March 1, 2015. The photo at right shows scalepod blooming enmasse in moist swales at the east end of Memaloose, Columbiar River Gorge..........March 2, 2016.