CPC Plant Profile: Frosty Bladderpod
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Plant Profile

Frosty Bladderpod (Physaria pruinosa)

  • Global Rank: N/A
  • Legal Status: N/A
  • Family: Brassicaceae
  • State: CO, NM
  • Nature Serve ID: 159251
  • Date Inducted in National Collection: 04/01/1990

The Pagosa Springs bladderpod, Lesquerella pruinosa, is a perennial plant and member of the Mustard family, and can grow 10-25 cm tall. It was named after the very short, dense hairs covering the leaves and stems to give the plant a frosted appearance. The diamond-shaped leaves are mainly basal, and narrow abruptly to long, slender leafstalks. The rosette forms from the basal leaves (Von Bargen 1997). The plant produces small yellow flowers May-August. The fruiting inflorescence is elongated and crowded. The pedicels are loosely sigmoid (Harrington 1954). This species was first discovered in 1899 near Pagosa Springs by Charles Fuller Baker on his trip to southwestern Colorado (Anderson 2004). Recently, some small populations have been found in oak brush or in open stands of ponderosa pine in soil derived from the Mancos Formation shale (Von Barge 1997). The development of residential and commercial properties and ski resorts in Pagosa Springs and off-road vehicle use have caused adverse impacts such as soil disturbance and erosion. These activities diminish habitat for the Pagosa Springs bladderpod.

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Nature Serve Biotics
  • 05/02/2017

Endemic to Colorado and New Mexico; known from Archuleta County, and the extreme southern portion of Hinsdale County in Colorado, and one location in Rio Arriba County in New Mexico. Habitat destruction is the biggest threat to Lesquerella pruinosa, especially considering its limited range. Residential growth and development around the city of Pagosa Springs, including a proposed ski resort, threaten occurrences.

Akiko Okawado
  • 01/01/2010

Habitat destruction results from soil disturbance, recreational use such as off-road vehicle, and residential, commercial, airport, and ski resort construction (Von Bargen 1997).

Akiko Okawado
  • 01/01/2010

This species is currently known from 14 occurrences, all within Archuleta County (Neely 1990). A total count of one population of L. pruinosa was estimated at 4,250 by Anderson (1998). However, following a field survey in 1991 near Gordon Creek, approximately twice that number of plants were found at this occurrence alone (A.T. Carpenter, personal observation).

Akiko Okawado
  • 01/01/2010

None known.

Akiko Okawado
  • 01/01/2010

There is no formal plan for this species drafted.

Akiko Okawado
  • 01/01/2010

All aspects of this species' ecology and biology need to be studied, including its life history and population dynamics.

Akiko Okawado
  • 01/01/2010

Seed collection and storage.


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Taxon Physaria pruinosa
Authority (Greene) O'Kane & Al-Shehbaz
Family Brassicaceae
CPC Number 2513
ITIS 823237
Common Names bladderpod | Pagosa Springs bladderpod
Associated Scientific Names Lesquerella pruinosa | Physaria pruinosa
Distribution The Pagosa Springs bladderpod is a narrow endemic restricted to Archuleta County, Colorado (Spackman 1997).
State Rank
State State Rank
Colorado S2
New Mexico SNR

This species is restricted to fine-textured soil derived from Mancos Formation shale. It is often found in areas surrounded by montane grasslands, open ponderosa pine stands with scrub oak, Douglas-fir, or Engelmann spruce communities. Elev. 6,800-8,300 ft. (Spackman 1997).

Ecological Relationships

The Pagosa Springs bladderpod may be self-incompatible which is consistent with the genus (Anderson 1988 and Rollins 1983). This species is most likely pollinated by bees and flies (Anderson 1988).

Common Name Name in Text Association Type Source InteractionID
Lead Institution State Reintroduction Type Year of First Outplanting

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