Dagger pod from atop Stacker Butte in the Columbia Hilles near The Dallesport, WA......April 1005.
Dagger pods are very attractive perennial wildflowers with tufts of grayish leaves and racemes of pinkish to purplish flowers. The basal leaves are in thick clusters and are oblanceolate in shape with entire blades from 3-15 cm long, narrowing gradually to the narrow petiole. The flower scapes bear sessile, narrowly lanceolate leaveswith clasping, ear-like lobes at their base. The scapes measure from 5-20 mm long and may be erect, but are often spreading or prostrate. The leaves and stems are densely covered with very fine to coarse branched hairs.
The racemes bear many flowers, and are tightly congested in bloom, extending and becoming more open as the pods form. The spreading pedicels measure 5-35 mm long while the pink to purplish sepals are 5-6 mm long. The 4 obovate-oblanceolate petals spread outwards at the end of the calyx lobes and measure from 11-15 mm long. They range in color from light pink to reddish-purple. The anthers measure from 1.4-2 mm long. The attractive seed capsules are siliques which are widely spreading and glabrous. They are linear-lanceolate to narrowly oblong and taper equally and gradually at both ends. The siliques measure from 2-8 cm long and 2-6 mm wide. The style is about 1 mm long. The flower scapes break at ground level and will tumble about in the wind, scattering their seeds.
Dagger pods may be found on rocky, thin soils on open ridgetops or amongst sagebrush or ponderosa pine east of the Cascade Mountains.
Dagger pod may be found in eastern Washington and Oregon into neighboring Nevada and Idaho.
In the Columbia River Gorge, dagger pod is found east of the Klickitat River at elevations between 800'-2900'.