Dimorphocarpa wislizeni

Spectacle Pod - Dimorphocarpa wislizeni
San Lorenzo, NM, USA

The fruit of the Spectacle Pod, Dimorphocarpa wislizeni, have the shape of stylized eye glasses.  It is also called Tourist Plant.  There are a limited number of scientific synonyms for this species, including; Dithyrea griffithsii, D. wislizeni, and D. w. var griffithsii.  It was initially described as Dithyrea wislizeni by George Englemann in 1848.  It was redescribed by Reed Clark Rollins and placed in its present status in 1979.  The type specimen was collected by Friedrich Adolph Wislizenus in 1848.  Wislizenus worked most extensively in what is now northern Mexico and New Mexico.  A holotype specimen, collected “north of the Jornada del Muerto” is shown below.

The light green color on the range map to the right indicates that the species is native and not rare in those areas.  In Mexico, it is found in Baja California, Coahuila, Chihuahua, and Sonora.

This species was used for a variety of medicinal purposes by the indigenous peoples of North America.

There are two closely related species: D. candicans found in eastern New Mexico, northwestern Texas, and western Kansas; and D. pinnatifida found in Arizona and adjacent Mexico.


© Robert Barnes 2018-2023