Feb. 9, 2022

balloonvine, Cardiospermum halicacabum

OK, I admit this isn't the best image. I don't recall why I didn't get closer to this interesting flower. Garden shots usually turn out better. Maybe there was just too much growing around it and I couldn't manipulate things like one might do in the wild. Anyway, why was it in a demonstration garden like Beal Garden at Michigan State? Balloonvine has genuine medical value in topical treatments for skin problems, in particular for atopic dermatitis. This is a tropical American native despite its appearance in "The Useful Native Plants of Australia". It now grows around the world along roads and in other weedy areas where it can twine things. The fruit is an inflated pod, sometimes mostly round, sometimes with three blunt lobes. You might see some in AL, AR, CT, DE, FL, GA, HI, IL IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MI, MO MS, NJ, NY, OH, OK, PA, SC, TN, TX, or VA. Beal Garden MSU, 7/26/14. Soapberry family, Sapindaceae.