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Physaria lata
(Lincoln County bladderpod)

[taxon report][distribution map][all photos][line drawing]

Family: Brassicaceae

Scientific Name: Physaria lata (Wooton & Standley) O'Kane & Al-Shehbaz

Synonyms: Lesquerella lata Wooton & Standley

Vernacular Name: Lincoln County bladderpod

R-E-D Code: 2-1-3

Description: Perennial, densely pubescent and rough-granular to the touch; trichomes on short stalks, rays several, distinct, usually bifurcate; stems spreading or erect, simple, about 10 cm long; basal leaves entire, 3-4 cm long, blades elliptical to obovate, narrowed to a long slender petiole; cauline leaves elliptic to obovate, shortly petiolate, 1-2 cm long; inflorescences dense; petals yellow, 7-8 mm long; fruiting pedicels sigmoid, 5-8 mm long; silicles 3-4 mm long, erect, substipitate, globose to ellipsoid or obovoid, valves sparsely pubescent on exterior, glabrous or with a few hairs on interior; styles 3-5 mm long; ovules 5-6 per locule; seeds flattened, neither margined nor winged. Flowers April to July.

Similar Species: This plant grows within populations of Physaria pinetorum and is distinguishable from that species only by its sparsely pubescent silicles. Physaria valida also occurs in the Sacramento Mountains, but its silicles are densely pubescent, tear-shaped, and slightly compressed parallel to the septum. Other Physaria species in this mountain range have glabrous silicles.

Distribution: New Mexico, Lincoln County, Sacramento Mountains.

Habitat: Rocky places and disturbed soils in piƱon-juniper-oak woodland and montane coniferous forest; 2,150-2,900 m (7,000-9,600 ft).

Remarks: Molecular, morphological, distributional, and ecological data strongly support the union of Physaria and Lesquerella. The genus Lesquerella has about 75 species and the genus Physaria has about 22 species, but Physaria is the older name. The rules of botanical nomenclature require that the older name be retained, thus all species of Lesquerella have been transferred to Physaria (Al-Shehbaz and O'Kane 2002). The authors petitioned for an exception to this rule for Lesquerella, but were denied.

Physaria lata has been found as an occasional pubescent-fruited form in large aggregations of P. pinetorum. There is strong suspicion that it is only a sporadic variant of the latter species. Along with P. aurea, it is one of two endemic bladderpod species in the Sacramento Mountains.

Conservation Considerations: Current land uses apparently pose no threat to this plant. A greenhouse study is needed to determine if the pubescent silicle characteristic is consistently represented in offspring of this questionable species.

Important Literature (*Illustration):

Rollins, R.C. 1993. The Cruciferae of continental North America. Stanford University Press, Stanford, California.

Rollins, R.C. and E.A. Shaw. 1973. The genus Lesquerella (Cruciferae) in North America. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Wooton, E.O. and P.C. Standley. 1913. Descriptions of new plants preliminary to a report upon the flora of New Mexico. Contributions from the U.S. National Herbarium 16:109-196.

Al-Shehbaz, I.A. and S.L. O'Kane, Jr. 2002. Lesquerella is united with Physaria (Brassicaceae). Novon: A Journal for Botanical Nomenclature from the Missouri Botanical Garden 12:319-329.

Information Compiled By: David Bleakly, 1999; last updated 2006

Agency Status:
Taxon USFWS State of NM USFS BLM Navajo Nation Natural Heritage NM Global Rank
Physaria lataPhysaria lata...S1?

Photo credits in header Peniocereus greggii var. greggii © T. Todsen,
Lepidospartum burgessii © M. Howard, Argemone pleiacantha ssp. pinnatisecta © R. Sivinski
©2005 New Mexico Rare Plant Technical Council