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    There are nearly a dozen Physarias (Bladderpods) in the Four Corners area; Physaria acutifolia is the most common. The genus was named by Asa Gray in 1848 and is now greatly expanded with the addition of all former members of the Lesquerella genus. "Physaria" is Greek for "bladder", referring to the swollen seed pods.  

     Click for Physaria rectipes.

This is a native species.

Physaria fendleri
Physaria fendleri
Physaria fendleri
Physaria fendleri.  Synonym: Lesquerella fendleri.  (Fendler's Bladderpod)
Brassicaceae (Mustard Family)

Semi-desert. Sandy openings, shrublands. Spring.
Above: Valley of the Gods, Utah, April 19, 2017 and The Hogback, New Mexico, April 24, 2007.
Left: The Hogback, New Mexico, April 24, 2007.

This intensely golden-yellow flower occurs singly and in scattered patches brightening even the cloudiest of days -- as it did on the very cloudy and windy day I took the photographs at left and below. This is a long-lived perennial with numerous stems and many flowers on each stem. 

The blue-green cast to the stems and leaves comes from a myriad of white stellate hairs (hairs that branch in a starburst pattern) that cover a dark green cell pigment. (See the last photographs below and also see the last photographs on the Physaria acutifolia page). With a 10x hand lens one can see that the stellate hairs are webbed to about half their length giving a cob-web affect.

Asa Gray named this plant Vesicaria fendleri in 1849 from a specimen collected by the highly respected Augustus Fendler near Santa Fe in 1847. Sereno Watson named it Lesquerella fendleri in 1888. O'Kane and Al-Shehbaz renamed it Physaria fendleri in 2002.  

Click for more biographical information about Fendler.

Physaria fendleri

Physaria fendleri

Physaria fendleri.  Synonym: Lesquerella fendleri.  (Fendler's Bladderpod)
Brassicaceae (Mustard Family)

Semi-desert. Sandy openings, shrublands. Spring.
The Hogback, New Mexico, April 24, 2007 and Ojito Wilderness, New Mexico, June 2, 2010.

Flowers mature in a few weeks and the rounded, glabrous seed pods ("silicles") which follow are one of the diagnostic characteristics of this species. Many other species in this genus have much more inflated pods and even double pods.

Physaria fendleri
Physaria fendleri.  Synonym: Lesquerella fendleri.  (Fendler's Bladderpod)
Brassicaceae (Mustard Family)

Semi-desert. Sandy openings, shrublands. Spring.
Valley of the Gods, Utah, April 19, 2017.

Basal leaves are crowded on this robust plant and typical of this species, basal leaves are linear to narrowly lanceolate and barely differentiated into a petiole and blade.

The dimpled appearance of the leaf surface is due to the myriad of stellate hairs. These hairs branch out from a central core and that gives the dimpled appearance.

                   Physaria fendleri

Range map © John Kartesz,
Floristic Synthesis of North America

State Color KeySpecies present in state and native
Species present in state and exotic
Species not present in state

County Color Key

Species present and not rare
Species present and rare
Species extirpated (historic)
Species extinct
Species noxious
Species exotic and present
Native species, but adventive in state
Eradicated
Questionable presence

Range map for Physaria fendleri  

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