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Dimorphocarpa wislizeni (Touristplant)
Williams, Pam

Dimorphocarpa wislizeni

Dimorphocarpa wislizeni (Engelm.) Rollins

Touristplant, Spectacle Pod

Brassicaceae (Mustard Family)

Synonym(s): Dithyrea griffithsii, Dithyrea wislizeni, Dithyrea wislizeni var. griffithsii

USDA Symbol: DIWI2

USDA Native Status: L48 (N)

Touristplant or Spectacle Pod is a 1 1/2-2 ft. biennial with spikes of fragrant, 1 in., white to pale-pink blossoms and pale-green leaves. A grayish, hairy plant, either branched or unbranched, with pinnately lobed leaves and white flowers in dense thick racemes. The bi-lobed fruit looks like a pair of eyeglasses.

Species in this genus are very similar, all usually given the name Spectacle Pod, as their fruit resemble tiny eyeglasses. Dimorphocarpa candicans branches mostly above the middle, has upper leaves that are abruptly contracted to the stalk at the base (rather than tapered), and has pods 3/8-1/2" (8-12 mm) wide; it occurs from southwestern Kansas south to northern Texas and eastern New Mexico. In both species the anthers are not held strictly erect but are spread somewhat from one another. A remarkable look-alike in a different genus, California Spectacle Pod (Dithyrea californica), has sepals and anthers held erect and yellow-green, shallowly lobed leaves; it occurs from southern Nevada and southeastern California to western Arizona and northwestern Mexico. Until recently all were considered to be in the genus Dithyrea (meaning "two shields" in Greek, referring to the pod).


From the Image Gallery

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Plant Characteristics

Duration: Annual
Habit: Herb
Fruit Type: Silicle
Size Notes: Up to about 30 inches tall, often shorter.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White , Pink
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr , May , Jun , Jul
Bloom Notes: Usually white to pale pink, occasionally pale lavender.


USA: AZ , CO , NM , NV , TX , UT
Native Distribution: W. CO & NV, s. to w. TX & NM
Native Habitat: Sandy areas

Growing Conditions

Light Requirement: Part Shade
Soil Description: Deep, well-drained sands.
Conditions Comments: Cutting the first blooms will encourage lateral stems which will branch and bloom.


Use Medicinal: Whole plant boiled and tea given for delirium. Can be ground mixed with warm water and applied externally to swellings on any part of the body especially the throat. Also, ground into powder and sprinkled on wounds.
Conspicuous Flowers: yes


Description: Propagate by seed, which germinates following winter rains.
Commercially Avail: yes


Bibref 318 - Native Texas Plants: Landscaping Region by Region (2002) Wasowski, S. & A. Wasowski

Search More Titles in Bibliography

Web Reference

Webref 38 - Flora of North America (2019) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter

Additional resources

USDA: Find Dimorphocarpa wislizeni in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Dimorphocarpa wislizeni in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Dimorphocarpa wislizeni


Record Modified: 2023-02-06
Research By: TWC Staff

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