There are nearly a dozen Physarias (Bladderpods) in the Four Corners area. Physaria scrotiformis was discovered in 2006 and described in 2007 by Steve O'Kane.

     The Physaria genus was named by Asa Gray in 1848. It was greatly expanded with the addition of all former members of the Lesquerella genus.

     "Physaria" is Greek for "bladder" and "scrotiformis" means "pouch-shaped", referring to the seed pods, as shown below.  

     Click for more Physaria.

This is a native species.

Physaria scrotiformis

Physaria scrotiformis

Physaria scrotiformis

Physaria scrotiformis

Physaria scrotiformis

Physaria scrotiformis






Physaria scrotiformis  (West Silver Bladderpod)
Brassicaceae (Mustard Family)

Alpine. Tundra. Summer.
Above and left: Colorado Trail near Stony Pass, July 21, 2011 and July 26, 2017.

Physaria scrotiformis sprawls along the ground for 3-5 inches and grows to only a few inches tall. It grows only in the high alpine of the Weminuche Wilderness near Durango and Silverton and appears within a few days of snow melt, but flowers for many weeks after that. Flower peduncles typically are spread along the ground, usually in the direction of the melted snow-waters running downhill. 

Compare this Physaria with the other Physarias shown on this website and you will see a number of similarities: flowers are numerous and bright yellow; peduncles are red and have numerous silvery forked hairs (see the last photographs on the Physaria acutifolia page); and seed pods are inflated.

The second photograph above shows two Colorado endemics, Physaria scrotiformis and Townsendia rothrockii. Both are commonly found along the Colorado Trail south from Stony Pass.

This new species, discovered by Steve O'Kane in 2006, was thought to occur only on Leadville limestone on West Silver Mesa in the Weminuche Wilderness area near Durango, but, as the photographs on this page show, it is also found north of that location on the San Juan Formation, a volcanic breccia.

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
Questionable presence

Physaria scroptiformis

Range map for Physaria scrotiformis