CPC Plant Profile: Bell's Twinpod
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Plant Profile

Bell's Twinpod (Physaria bellii)

Rosette of silvery pubescent leaves & yellow, four-petaled flowers. Photo Credit: Carol Dawson
Description
  • Global Rank: G2 - Imperiled
  • Legal Status: N/A
  • Family: Brassicaceae
  • State: CO
  • Nature Serve ID: 135965
  • Date Inducted in National Collection: 02/10/1987

A member of the Mustard family, Physaria belli is restricted to limestone and calcareous shales of the Niobrara formation in the northern front range of Colorado. The bright yellow flowers of this plant form a halo around the grayish/green basal rosette of leaves. "Physa" mean bubble, which describes the inflated fruits that form on the species, which make the species easy to identify when fruits are present (Von Bargen 1997).

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Updates
  • 10/06/2020
  • Living Collection

Denver Botanic Gardens has conducted germination tests, banked seeds at the National Seed Storage Laboratory, and grown plants of this species for almost a decade.

  • 10/06/2020
  • Demographic Research

Linda Coulter, a Ph.D. student at Colorado State University, is studying the population dynamics of this species. (Courter 2002

  • 10/06/2020
  • Propagation Research

Denver Botanic Gardens has conducted germination tests, banked seeds at the National Seed Storage Laboratory, and grown plants of this species for almost a decade.

  • 10/06/2020
  • Orthodox Seed Banking

Denver Botanic Gardens has conducted germination tests, banked seeds at the National Seed Storage Laboratory, and grown plants of this species for almost a decade.

  • 10/06/2020
  • Seed Collection

Denver Botanic Gardens has conducted germination tests, banked seeds at the National Seed Storage Laboratory, and grown plants of this species for almost a decade.

Nature Serve Biotics
  • 05/02/2017

Restricted to outcrops of the Niobrara and Pierre formations, and red sandstone outcrops (Fountain, Ingleside, and Lykins formations) in northcentral Colorado. There are 25 occurrences with as many as one million individual plants. However, the species faces variety of threats including mining, suburban expansion along the Front Range, road construction, and invasion of its habitat by noxious weeds such as diffuse knapweed (Centaurea diffusa).

Thomas Grant
  • 01/01/2010

Threats include mining (limestone for cement), urban expansion/construction, and invasive weeds (OKane 1988, Jennings 1989). Another potential threat is hybridization with a more common congener, Physaria vitulifera (Courter 2002).

Thomas Grant
  • 01/01/2010

Denver Botanic Gardens has conducted germination tests, banked seeds at the National Seed Storage Laboratory, and grown plants of this species for almost a decade. Linda Coulter, a Ph.D. student at Colorado State University, is studying the population dynamics of this species. (Courter 2002)

Thomas Grant
  • 01/01/2010

Populations exist on public land and are managed by Open Space departments as a sensitive species.

Thomas Grant
  • 01/01/2010

Research needs include studies of reproductive biology and ecology, habitat requirements for seedling establishment and recruitment.

Thomas Grant
  • 01/01/2010

Additional seed collection and banking.

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Photos
Nomenclature
Taxon Physaria bellii
Authority G. A. Mulligan
Family Brassicaceae
CPC Number 3441
ITIS 23273
USDA PHBE2
Common Names Bell's twinpod | Front Range twinpod
Associated Scientific Names Physaria bellii
Distribution Colorado endemic. Boulder, Jefferson, and Larimer Cos.; northern Front Range foothills (Spackman et al. 1997).
State Rank
State State Rank
Colorado S2S3
Habitat

Dry, loose, gray to black shale slopes in Niobrara and Pierre Formation shales and limestones (Peterson and Harmon 1981).Bells twinpod is usually found in shrub communities dominated by Rhus trilobata and Cercocarpus montanus at elevations of 1,580 to 1,750 meters. However, it has been reported on a small outcrop of Niobrara shale near Deer Creek Canyon in Jefferson County. (OKane 1988)

Ecological Relationships

Ecological relationships are unknown, but the species is considered a self-incompatible perennial. (Courter 2002)

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

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