CPC Plant Profile: San Bernardino Mountains Bladderpod
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Plant Profile

San Bernardino Mountains Bladderpod (Physaria kingii ssp. bernardina)

Lesquerella kingii ssp. bernardina flower close up Photo Credit: Lara Hartley
Description
  • Global Rank: T1 - Critically Imperiled
  • Legal Status: Federally Endangered
  • Family: Brassicaceae
  • State: CA
  • Nature Serve ID: 140628
  • Date Inducted in National Collection: 12/15/2020

Lesquerella kingii subsp. bernardina (San Bernardino Mountains bladderpod) is a short-lived perennial in the mustard family (Brassicaceae). This taxon has silvery leaves and stems, is 4-8 inches tall (1-2 decimeters) with yellow flowers that bloom between May and June (CNPS 2007). Lesquerella kingii subsp. bernardina is listed as endangered and is restricted to growing on dolomite rock on the north side (desert side) of the San Bernardino Mountains, San Bernardino County, California (USFWS 1997). Lesquerella kingii subsp. bernardina was federally listed in 1994 along with four other plant species that also grow on carbonate substrate. The five carbonate endemic plants species are restricted to limestone, dolomite, or other carbonate rock substrates of the San Bernardino Mountains.

Updates
  • 09/23/2020
  • Demographic Research

There has been limited investigation on the biology and ecology of Lesquerella kingii subsp. bernardina. Ongoing revegetation trials on former limestone quarry sites provide some insight into community ecology on carbonate substrates, and surveys conducted on the San Bernardino National Forest have expanded knowledge of these species distribution patterns (Soza 1998, USFWS 1997).

  • 09/01/2020
  • Orthodox Seed Banking

Based on an September 2020 extract of the California Plant Rescue Database, California Botanic Garden holds 3 accessions of Physaria kingii subsp. bernardina in orthodox seed collection. There are as many as 1182 seeds of this species in their collection - although some may have been used for curation testing or sent to back up.

Nature Serve Biotics
  • 05/02/2017

Known from about 5 sites in the San Bernardino Mountains of southern California. All the known populations occur on carbonate substrates. Carbonate deposits are rare in this region and virtually all are currently under active, or maintained but currently inactive, mining claims. Development also threatens some of the plants. Additional threats include OHV activity, invasives, grazing and recreational activity. No sites are in permanent protection.

Naomi Fraga
  • 01/01/2010

The primary threats to L. kingii subsp. bernardina are loss or degredation of habitat due to off-highway vehicle use, recreation, and urban development. Urban development has encroached upon several occurrences of L. kingii subsp. bernardina near Big Be

Naomi Fraga
  • 01/01/2010

The estimate of total number of individuals on Bertha Ridge in 1980 was 25,000 and less than 10,000 in 198l it is unclear whether this difference is due to sampling techniques or drought conditions. The Sugarlump Ridge populations totaled approximately 10,000 individuals in 1991. Anecdotal reports suggest that populations sizes increased following the end of the drought in the 1980s.

Naomi Fraga
  • 01/01/2010

There has been limited investigation on the biology and ecology of Lesquerella kingii subsp. bernardina. Ongoing revegetation trials on former limestone quarry sites provide some insight into community ecology on carbonate substrates, and surveys conducted on the San Bernardino National Forest have expanded knowledge of these species distribution patterns (Soza 1998, USFWS 1997).

Naomi Fraga
  • 01/01/2010

The majority of carbonate deposits within the San Bernardino Mountains are owned by the USDA Forest Service, San Bernardino National Forest, which has developed a forest management plan that aims to conserve some of the existing populations of the carbonate endemics by setting aside refugia. As part of this plan, the SBNF has supported surveys of carbonate habitat within the SBNF to expand knowledge of species distribution patterns and assist in identification of refugia potential (USFWS 1997).

Naomi Fraga
  • 01/01/2010

Management needs that have been identified by the USFWS include protection of significant extant populations by developing a reserve system on federally owned land of occupied areas, buffer zones, and habitat connections; restoring habitat, reintroduction efforts and enhancing populations; monitoring populations; and conducting surveys and taxonomic assessments to locate new populations and resolve questions about the identity of several existing populations (USFWS 1997).

Naomi Fraga
  • 01/01/2010

Establish and maintain a genetically representative seed bank.

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Photos
Nomenclature
Taxon Physaria kingii ssp. bernardina
Authority (Munz) O'Kane & Al-Shehbaz
Family Brassicaceae
CPC Number 2503
ITIS 823369
USDA PHKIB
Common Names bladderpod | San Bernardino Lesquerella | San Bernardino Mountains bladderpod | King bladderpod
Associated Scientific Names Lesquerella kingii ssp. bernardina | Physaria kingii ssp. bernardina | Lesquerella bernardina
Distribution Lesquerella kingii subsp. bernardina is known from two areas on either side of Bear Valley in the San Bernardino Mountains, San Bernardino County, California. One group of occurrences is on the north
State Rank
State State Rank
California S1
Habitat

Lesquerella kingii subsp. bernardina occurs on carbonate substrates (either brown sandy soils with white carbonate rocks or outcrops of carbonate rock) in Jeffrey pine-western juniper woodlands or white fir forest, typically in areas with little accumulation of organic material (USFWS 1994). Geologic maps indicate that all populations of L. kingii subsp. bernardina occur on dolomite (Brown, 1992). Slopes are typically gentle to moderate and are both north- and south-facing between 6800-8800 ft (2,100 and 2700 m) in elevation (USFWS 1997).

Ecological Relationships

Among the gaps of ecological understanding for Lesquerella kingii subsp. bernardina and the other carbonate endemics is the lack of information about pollination ecology, seed dispersal mechanisms, and seed bank dynamics. Observations of an increase in populations size after the cessation of the drought in the 1980s suggests a persistent seed bank for Lesquerella kingii subsp. bernardina.

Pollinators
Common Name Name in Text Association Type Source InteractionID

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