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Fendler's Bladderpod Lesquerella fendleri


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Fendler's Bladderpod
credit: aspidocelis/CCSA

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Family: Brassicaceae, Mustard view all from this family

Description Yellow flowers in loose short racemes at stem ends of a low, rather tightly tufted, silvery-gray perennial; plant surfaces covered with tiny, star-like scales.
Habit: native perennial herb; several stems, prostrate to erect, rise from basal rosette.
Height: 1-16 in (3-40 cm)
Leaf: in basal rosette, linear to elliptic, sometimes toothed, 0.5-3 (12-75 mm) long; on stem, alternate, smaller, short-stalked, edges sometimes rolled inward.
Flower: lemon yellow to orange, to 0.6 in (15 mm) wide; 4 oval to fan-shaped petals, sometimes orange-striped at center.
Fruit: round puffy pod, very slightly lobed, 0.2-0.3 in (5-8 mm) diameter, on short upright stalk; green sometimes turning red.

Flower March to June and beyond, depending on rainfall.

Flower March - June

Habitat Dry, alkaline soil: creekbeds, canyons, limestone outcrops, gypseous hills, gravels, sandy washes, rocky slopes, bluffs, shallow drainage areas, plains and desert shrub areas; 330-6600 ft (100-2000 m); sometimes cultivated agriculturally.

Range Native to the desert southwest, from Utah and Arizona east to Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, and into northern Mexico.

Discussion Also known as popweed. The latin name Physaria fendleri is also used. This is one of the earliest plants to flower in its area; its bright yellow is conspicuous against the drab ground of early spring.

In the same region is the similar but annual Gordon's Bladderpod (L. gordonii), which has several slender stems that lie on the ground, turning up at the tips; unlike Fendler's Bladderpod, it is not tufted and has a more open appearance.

Comments One of the first wildflowers to bloom in the spring. Spikes of golden flowers are showy against the barren areas where in naturally occurs.

Exposure Preference Sun.

Native Distribution W. Kansas to Utah, s. to n. Mexico

Site Preference Plains & mesas; 4000-7000 ft.

Soil Preference Dry, sandy or rocky, calcareous soils.