Plant of the Month: Jan. 2013

Bladderpod Shrub Peritoma Arborea

This evergreen relative of edible capers attracts hummingbirds and butterflies, and blooms year-round with occasional water.


Peritoma arborea (Formerly Isomeris arborea)


  • Plant Form: Evergreen Shrub
  • Water Use: Very Low
  • Mature Size: 4’-6’ tall & wide
  • Exposure: Full Sun
  • Bloom Time: Year-round; heaviest bloom Feb – June
  • Native to: California
  • Hardiness: Cold Hardy to 25° F


Bladderpod is a hardy, drought-tolerant, evergreen shrub with lacy gray-green leaves. This relative of capers produces showy, yellow snapdragon-like flowers year-round with only occasional water. Bladderpod derives its name from its seed pods that are shaped like small balloons or inflated “bladders”, which enclose this plant’s pea-like fruit. This under-appreciated native of both high and low deserts of California makes a great border or filler, and is a magnet for hummingbirds and butterflies. The bright, all-season flowers more than make up for its odd-smelling leaves. Prefers well-draining soil. Avoid overwatering in summer, when it is normally dormant in the wild. Bladderpod is easily grown from seed sown directly in place.