Physaria fendleri

Fendler's Bladderpod, Physaria fendleri
East of Hillsboro, New Mexico, USA
May 15, 2014

In May 2014, Fendler's Bladderpod, Physaria fendleri, was showing flowers and seed pods.  It is in the mustard family.  This species is the richest source of bladderpod oil (containing hydroxy and lesquerolic acid) which is used (or can be used) in a wide variety of applications.  There have been some attempts to grow this plant commercially.

Scientific synonyms include Lesquerella fendleri, Lesquerella praecox, Lesquerella praecox, Lesquerella stenophylla, Alyssum fendleri, and Vesicaria fendleri (this being the name given to it originally by Asa Gray - the basionym).  It is also known by the English Common Names of Yellowtop and Popweed.

As shown on the BONAP map to the right, the range of Fendler’s Bladderpod is limited to (primarily) five states in the United States. In Mexico it is found as far south as Nayarit and San Luis Potosi.  It is generally found at elevations below 6,500 feet.

Its nearly spherical fruit, often with an obsolete style (shown in these photos) makes it easy to distinguish from Physaria gordonii var. gordonii which has fruit which is crescent shaped.




© Robert Barnes 2018