Rarely seen fully grown Ballon Plant tree in Wild near Kumili, Thekkady forest reserve area, Kerala, India.
Gomphocarpus (Asclepias physocarpus) is a plant in the milkweed family (in the subfamily Asclepiadoideae of the Apocynaceae, formerly the Asclepiadaceae) often used as an ornamental for the striking yellowish, ball-like fruits.
Flowers are followed by unusual fruits that look like hairy, inflated spheres. The pale green, soft, almost translucent, bladder- like follicles, covered with soft hair-like spines, swell to up to 3 inches in diameter. The follicles become yellowish, often tinged with red or brown, when mature, and very gradually split open to release the numerous brown seeds. Each smooth, flattened oval seed has a tuft of long, silky hairs (a pappus) at one end which aids in dispersal by wind. Cut long stems with pods to use in fresh and dried floral arrangements.