WILDFLOWERS OF NEW MEXICO

 

Widespread and common, this low, bushy plant with a clump of 2–10-inch tall, white-woolly, hairy stems and leaves, adds color to barren soils with a dense cover of lemon-yellow blooms. Individual stems may have a woody base at the root crown and are usually unbranched. Note the 4 spreading petals and tiny, egg-shaped pods are hairless. Physaria were formerly called Lesquerella.


FLOWER: April–September. Rounded clusters of 1/2-inch (12 mm) wide flowers on the stem tips have 4 rounded petals usually with red markings in the throat. The 3/16–5/16-inch (4–8 mm) long egg-shaped pods are hairless, not notched at the tip, and pop if stepped on when dry. The pod stems usually are straight to slightly curved, 3/8–3/4-inch (10–20 mm) long.


LEAVES: Basal and alternate on stem, both with surfaces densely covered with silvery-gray hair. Basal leaves, linear to elliptic, are 3/8–1 1/2-inch (1–4 cm) long. Stem leaves, linear to lance-shaped, reach 1/8–1-inch (3-25 mm) long. 


HABITAT: Sandy, rocky soils, rangeland, disturbed areas; plains, desert grasslands and scrub, pinyon-juniper woodlands.


ELEVATION: 4,000–7,700 feet.


RANGE: AZ, CO, NM, TX, UT.


SIMILAR SPECIES: The look-alike annual Gordon’s Bladderpod, P. gordonii, widespread in southern 1/2 NM, usually has branching stems and either straight of S-shaped (not curved) pod stems, but can't be reliably separated for P. fendleri in the field without analyzing microscopic hair differences (use 10x lens). Fendler’s has star-shaped hairs fused at the middle; Gordon’s has star-shaped hairs fused at the base.


NM COUNTIES: Nearly statewide at low- to mid-elevation, dry habitats: Bernalillo, Chaves, Cibola, Colfax, Curry, De Baca, Dona Ana, Eddy, Grant, Guadalupe, Hidalgo, Lea, Lincoln, Los Alamos, Luna, McKinley, Otero, Quay, Rio Arriba, Roosevelt, San Juan, San Miguel, Sandoval, Santa Fe, Sierra, Socorro, Torrance, Valencia.

FENDLER'S  BLADDERPOD

PHYSARIA  FENDLERI  (LESQUERELLA  FENDLERI)

Mustard Family, Brassicaceae

Perennial herb

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Egg-shaped pods grow on slightly curved stems.

Golden-yellow flowers red-lined centers can densely cover the  plant.

Star-shaped hairs with rays fused in the middle (use 10x lens) cover the narrow leaves.

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