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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".  

     Click for Physaria rectipes.

Physaria newberryi subspecies newberryi

Physaria newberryi subspecies newberryi

Physaria newberryi subspecies newberryi
Physaria newberryi subspecies newberryi  (Newberry's Twinpod)
Brassicaceae (Mustard Family)

Semi-desert. Openings, shrublands, woodlands. Spring.
Six Mile Canyon, near Gallup, New Mexico, May 3, 2015.

Physaria newberryi occurs from 4,000 to 7,600 feet, often on gypsum and open to barren soils in just a few counties in northwest New Mexico, northern Arizona, and southern Utah. It is most easily distinguished from other Physaria by the appearance of its fruiting body which is flattened and sharply angled  --  in contrast to the spherical fruiting bodies of other Physaria.

P. newberryi grows in symmetrical clumps from 4 to 12 inches in diameter. Numerous bright yellow flowers make the plant easy to find.

The four-angled seed pod with its deep notch and style protruding from the notch is very evident and makes the species easy to identify. The very similar subspecies, P. newberryi ssp. yesicola has a style 2-4 times longer than that of subspecies newberryi -- 5-9 mm versus 2-3. Subspecies yesicola is a rare plant, found only in a few counties of western New Mexico.

Physaria newberryi was first collected by John Newberry in 1858 "near Tegua (Moqui Village)", Arizona and was named and described by Asa Gray in 1860.

Physaria newberryi variety yesicola was found in the late 1990s by Bob Sivinski and he published the description in 1999. "Yesicola" is for the geologic Yeso Formation in which Sivinski first discovered this subspecies.

Physaria newberryi subspecies newberryi

Physaria newberryi subspecies newberryi  (Newberry's Twinpod)
Brassicaceae (Mustard Family)

Semi-desert. Openings, shrublands, woodlands. Spring.
Six Mile Canyon, near Gallup, New Mexico, May 3, 2015.

Physaria newberryi presents a myriad of shapes and textures. I particularly like the contrast of the straight stems, the curves of the fruits, and the vase shape of the petals.

Notice also the white coating on petals, stems, and fruit. Physaria are often coated with starburst hairs (stellate hairs), but on Physaria newberryi the exotic shapes are enhanced as the

stellate hairs Physaria newberryi subspecies newberryi  are on gear-shaped appendages.

(Also see the last photographs on the Physaria acutifolia page.)

The projection of the style above the notched, wing-like fruit distinguishes this Physaria species from other Physarias and the length of the style (just 3 mm) distinguishes the newberryi subspecies from yesicola.

Physaria newberryi subspecies newberryi
Physaria newberryi subspecies newberryi  (Newberry's Twinpod)
Brassicaceae (Mustard Family)

Semi-desert. Openings, shrublands, woodlands. Spring.
Six Mile Canyon, near Gallup, New Mexico, May 3, 2015.

Flower stems are leafy and arise in considerable numbers from the branching caudex (root crown). Notice again that the leaves and stems are dotted with white -- the stellate hairs.

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

Physaria newberryi subspecies newberryi

Range map for Physaria newberryi subspecies newberryi

Physaria newberryi subspecies yesicola

Range map for Physaria newberryi subspecies yesicola  

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