California Spectacle Pod,
California Shieldpod

Dithyrea californica

Brassicaceae (Mustard Family)



Deserts of California, Nevada, western Arizona, northwestern Mexico.


Sandy washes, sandy dunes and scrub below 4500 feet.

Spectacle Pod



Four fragrant white to pale lavender petals on each flower, about half inch long blooming at the tops of the branches. Typically blooms from March through May depending on water and temperature.


Annual plant with basal leaves. Stems branch out from the base of the plant, ranging from 4 inches to 2 feet tall. Eccentric looking fruit fans out in pairs from the stems in flat shapes reminiscent of spectacles, hence the name "spectacle pod". Dithyrea in Greek means two shields; the other name for the plant is California shieldpod.

Each half of the double fruit holds just one seed. The plant is plentiful after rains.

Spectacle Pod Close Up


More Wildflowers

We have an online wildflower field guide that is designed to help you identify desert wildflowers by color, scientific name, region and common name. The pictures are sized to work on the iPod, iPhone, iPad and similar devices. With your iPod or phone you will easily be able to identify wildflowers while in the desert. Links for downloads are on the bottom of the Wildflower Field Guide page.

Photo tips: Most digital point-and-shoot cameras have a macro function - usually symbolized by the icon of a little flower. When you turn on that function, you allow your camera to get closer to the subject, looking into a flower for example. Or getting up close and personal with a bug. More on desert photography.

Mojave Desert Wildflowers - This book is the standard by which all other wildflower books are measured. The author, Jon Mark Stewart, has combined super photography with concise information. This book has an entire color page for each wildflower covered, with a discussion of the wildflower. 210 pages with 200 color photos. More...

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