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Bladder Pod
Peritoma arborea
About Bladder Pod (Peritoma arborea) Nurseries Show All Photos Bladder Pod is a species of the Caper family also known by the common names burrofat, and California Cleome. It is native to California (primarily southern) and Baja California where it grows in a variety of habitats from coastal bluffs to desert arroyos. It is a densely branching shrub reaching one half to two meters in height. Its leaves are made up of three equal leaf-like leaflets, each a long, pointed oval one to four centimeters long. The plant produces abundant flower clusters at the ends of the stem branches, each a cluster of bright yellow flowers. Each flower has usually four petals and six whiskery protruding stamens with curling tips holding the anthers. At the middle is a long, protruding style which holds the developing fruit at its tip. The fruit is an inflated capsule about 4 centimeters long and usually oval in shape. It is edible. It is smooth and green when new, aging to light brown. A typical flower cluster bears a number of unopened flower buds at its tip, open flowers proximal to the buds, and maturing fruits which have shed their flowers below these.

Bladderpod is one of the easiest California natives to grow in landscape applications. It tolerates weekly summer water but can also get by with only natural rainfall. They are easy to grow from seeds, usually growing in a year to 3 feet tall. The readily self seed, and once you have a few mature plants in your garden, expect new seedlings to pop up each winter. This tough plant grows well even on south-facing slopes, alkaline soils and salty conditions. The flowers are beautiful, bright yellow, and stay on the plant most of the year, and attract bees, butterflies and hummingbirds. It is highly fragrant, though the public is divided on whether it is pleasant or unpleasant.
Plant Description
Plant Type

Max. Height
1.6 - 6.6 ft (0.49 - 2 m)

Max. Width
6 ft (1.8 m)


Fragrant - Pleasant, Fragrant - Unpleasant

Growth Rate


Flower Color

Flowering Season
Spring, Winter

Native Status

Natural Setting
Site Type
This plant is unique in occurring in the immediate vicinity of the seashore, inland valleys and foothills, as well as in high desert and low desert. Near the coast it is typically found on dry slopes in coastal sage scrub. In the high desert - Joshua Tree woodland. In the low desert - Creosote Bush scrub


Elevation ?
-136' - 6023'

Annual Precip. ?
3.0" - 37.4"

Summer Precip. ?
0.13" - 2.67"

Coldest Month ?
34.3° F - 60.8° F

Hottest Month ?
61.8° F - 89.1° F

Humidity ?
0.88 vpd - 41.57 vpd

Soil Description
Prefers well drained soils such as sand or decomposed granite

Soil PH
7.0 - 9.0

Soil Toxicity Tolerance
Tolerates Saline Soil


Sunset Zones ?
8, 9, 12, 13, 14*, 15, 16, 17, 19*, 20*, 21*, 22*, 23*, 24*

Wildlife Attracted
It particularly attracts harlequin beetles which eat the leaves

Landscaping Information
Ease of Care
Very Easy

Water Requirement ?
Very Low, Low
Extremely Low
Very Low
Moderate - High

Seldom Used

Max. Summer Water ?
No Summer Water
Keep moist


Pest Control
If harlequin beetles become a problem they can be removed by hand or sprayed off with a garden hose. It is usually not possible to eliminate them entirely.

Propagation ?
By seed.

Common uses
Bank Stabilization, Deer Resistant, Bird Gardens, Hummingbird Gardens, Butterfly Gardens

Nursery Availability
Commonly Available

Other Names
Botanical Names
Isomeris arborea,Cleome arborea

Common Names
Burrofat, California Cleome, Coastal Bladderpod

Sources include: Wikipedia. All text shown in the "About" section of these pages is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. Plant observation data provided by the participants of the California Consortia of Herbaria, Sunset information provided by Jepson Flora Project. Propogation from seed information provided by the Santa Barbara Botanical Garden from "Seed Propagation of Native California Plants" by Dara E. Emery. Sources of plant photos include CalPhotos, Wikimedia Commons, and independent plant photographers who have agreed to share their images with Calscape. Other general sources of information include Calflora, CNPS Manual of Vegetation Online, Jepson Flora Project, Las Pilitas, Theodore Payne, Tree of Life, The Xerces Society, and information provided by CNPS volunteer editors, with special thanks to Don Rideout. Climate data used in creation of plant range maps is from PRISM Climate Group, Oregon State University, using 30 year (1981-2010) annual "normals" at an 800 meter spatial resolution.

Links:   Jepson eFlora Taxon Page  CalPhotos  Wikipedia  Calflora

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