Physaria ludoviciana (Bladderpod)
|Also known as:||Lousiana Bladder-pod|
|Habitat:||sun; dry sandy or rocky soil; sand prairies, dunes, barrens, bedrock bluffs|
|Bloom season:||May - June|
|Plant height:||6 to 16 inches|
|Wetland Indicator Status:||none|
|MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):|
|National distribution (click map to enlarge):|
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Leaves and stems:
Leaves are densely covered in star-shaped white hairs that give them a silvery cast. Basal leaves are up to 4 inches long, narrowly lance or spatula-shaped to linear, toothless or with a few shallow teeth, blunt at the tip. Stem leaves are stalkless, mostly linear, becoming progressively smaller as they ascend the stem. Stems are also densely hairy, unbranched, with a few to several stems arising from the base, erect or sprawling but rising at the tip (decumbent).
Fruit is a round to oval pod up to ¼ inch across, the remains of the style persisting at the tip and about as long as the pod. The flower stem elongates to about ¾ inch and is spreading or curved down.
Bladderpod, formerly Lesquerella ludoviciana, is an Endangered species in Minnesota as well as a Threatened species in Wisconsin and Endangered in Illinois. Primarily a more western and southern species, our few disjunct populations are a bit beyond the eastern fringe of its natural range. According to the DNR, most of the known Minnesota populations are within the Red Wing city limits, naturally protected from human activity by their preferred habitat, which is not suitable for either grazing, farming, or recreational vehicles. It's biggest threats at the moment are encroaching woody plants and non-native invasive species. We need more fire!
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Photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk taken at Spring Creek Prairie SNA, Goodhue County.
Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?