Spectacle Pod.

Spectacle Pod (Dimorphocarpa Wislizeni)

With 1- to 2-foot stems topped by round clusters of showy white flowers, this early-blooming mustard decorates road medians, trailsides, and disturbed areas. The paired seed disks spiral around the stem and resemble eyeglasses, hence the common name, “spectacle pod.” Though often considered a weed, its March blooms are an important early source of nectar and pollen for emerging bees, butterflies, and other pollinators. Southwest Indians considered the plant a multiuse medicine bottle. Powdered, it served as an antiseptic for cuts, while an infusion was used as a mouthwash and to strengthen gums. Historically, a concentrated decoction was given to “make men talk like fools,” which many consider no longer necessary.

Provided by George Miller, president of the Albuquerque chapter of the Native Plant Society of New Mexico; npsnm.org