Spectacle pod is native to the American southwest and Mexico. Its two-lobed seed capsules resemble
miniature pairs of spectacles, hence the name. It prefers sandstone-based desert shrubland,
or areas of pinyon-juniper and pondersoa pine, appearing at elevations of 1000-6500' (304-1981 m).
Plants: On branched or unbranched stems 4-28" (10-70 cm) tall.
Buds, stems, and leaves are tomentose, covered with thick hairs.
Leaves: Alternate, pubescent. Basal leaves are lanceolate, and toothed or lobed,
up to 6" (15 cm) long. Higher
leaves become narrower and less lobed (or unlobed).
Flowers: Thick racemes of white to lavendar or pale pink
flowers, each ⅛-¼" (4-8 mm) long, with 4 petals, purplish stamens and yellow-green anthers.
Fruits: Double-lobed winged silicle that splits at maturity into
two lobes, each with a flat seed ¹/₁₆-⅛" (2-3 mm) wide.
Medical: This species has a rather long list of highly various
medical uses by various indigenous peoples.