Dimorphocarpa wislizeni

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Dimorphocarpa wislizeni

Apparently Secure (NatureServe)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Rosids
Order: Brassicales
Family: Brassicaceae
Genus: Dimorphocarpa
Species: D. wislizeni
Binomial name
Dimorphocarpa wislizeni
(Engelm.) Rollins

Dithyrea griffithsii Woot. & Standl.
Dithyrea wislizeni Engelm.
Dithyrea wislizeni var. griffithsii (Woot. & Standl.) Payson

Dimorphocarpa wislizeni, commonly known as spectacle pod, Wislizeni's spectaclepod, and touristplant, is a flowering plant in the mustard family native to western North America, where it occurs in the southwestern United States as far east as Oklahoma and Texas, and Baja California, Sonora,[1] Chihuahua, and Coahuila in Mexico.[2]


This species is an annual herb with a branching or unbranched stem 10 to 80 centimeters tall. The basal leaves are lance-shaped with toothed or lobed edges. Leaves higher on the stem are narrower, with less divided or smooth edges. The flowers have white or lavender petals 4 to 8 millimeters long. The fruit is a double-lobed, winged silicle that breaks in half at maturity, each lobe carrying a flat seed 2 or 3 millimeters wide.[2]

The plant grows in sandy and sandstone substrates[2] in desert shrubland, pinyon-juniper, and ponderosa pine associations.[3]

The seed pods of Dimorphocarpa wislizeni are flat, green, two-lobed capsules that superficially resemble spectacles, hence the common name. This feature makes identification of Spectacle Pod easy.


The Zuni people applied a warm infusion of the pulverized plant to swelling, especially the throat. A decoction of entire plant was given for delirium.[4] An infusion of the plant was taken by men to "loosen their tongues so they may talk like fools and drunken men."[5] The flower and fruit eaten as an emetic for stomachaches.[6]


  1. ^ Dimorphocarpa wislizeni. Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN).
  2. ^ a b c Dimorphocarpa wislizeni. Flora of North America.
  3. ^ Dimorphocarpa wislizeni. NatureServe. 2012.
  4. ^ Stevenson, M. C. 1915. Ethnobotany of the Zuni Indians. SI-BAE Annual Report #30 (p.48-49)
  5. ^ Stevenson, p.91
  6. ^ Camazine, S. and R. A. Bye. 1980. A study of the medical ethnobotany of the Zuni Indians of New Mexico. Journal of Ethnopharmacology 2 365-88. (p.375)

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