CPC Plant Profile: Piceance Twinpod
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Plant Profile

Piceance Twinpod (Physaria obcordata)

Closeup of yellow flowers and lanceolate upper leaves. Photo Credit: Carol Dawson
  • Global Rank: G1 - Critically Imperiled
  • Legal Status: Federally Threatened
  • Family: Brassicaceae
  • State: CO
  • Nature Serve ID: 145962
  • Date Inducted in National Collection: 02/10/1987

Piceance twinpod, a small herbaceous perennial that is a member of the Mustard Family was first documented in 1982 by two members of the Colorado Natural Heritage Inventory, and eventually named by Reed Rollins (Al-shehbaz 1998). It was named for its distinctive heart-shaped fruits (cordate) that attach to stalked at the pointed end. (Naumann 1988) The leaves, stems and even fruits of this species are all covered with small, specialized branched hairs that resemble a splatter caused by a rock dropped in mud. In May and June the plant produces small, yellow flowers. (CNPS 1989) P. obcordata was first listed as federally endangered on February 6, 1990. (USFWS)

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Center for Plant Conservation
  • 08/19/2021
  • Orthodox Seed Banking

In 2021, CPC contracted Denver Botanic Gardens to recollect seed from a population currently held in long term orthodox seed storage as part of an IMLS-funded seed longevity experiment. The National Laboratory for Genetic Resources Preservation will evaluate how germination tested viability and RNA Integrity of seed lots decline over time in storage.

Nature Serve Biotics
  • 05/02/2017

A narrow endemic of oil shale barrens in the Piceance Basin of northwestern Colorado. Very locally abundant, with 10 documented occurrences, primarily along 2 adjacent drainages. If the oil shale or associated mineral deposits are mined, the survival of this species would be severely threatened.

Michelle DePrenger-Levin
  • 01/01/2010

Threats include mining/surface disturbance and potential development (USFWS 1989, 1990, 1993).

Michelle DePrenger-Levin
  • 01/01/2010

There are approximately 10,000 individuals growing together at the junction of Piceance Creek and Ryan Gulch, two miles north of Dudley Bluffs. This species is locally abundant with 12 known occurrences, primarily along the two adjacent drainages (USFWS 1993).

Michelle DePrenger-Levin
  • 01/01/2010

None known.

Michelle DePrenger-Levin
  • 01/01/2010

A recovery plan has been drafted for this species, but no centralized management plan has been implemented.

Michelle DePrenger-Levin
  • 01/01/2010

Research needs include understanding all aspects of this species ecology.

Michelle DePrenger-Levin
  • 01/01/2010

Seed collection and storage.


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Taxon Physaria obcordata
Authority Rollins
Family Brassicaceae
CPC Number 3447
ITIS 195788
Common Names piceance bladderpod | piceance twinpod | Dudley Bluffs twinpod
Associated Scientific Names Physaria obcordata
Distribution Piceance twinpod is a narrow endemic of oil shale barrens in the Piceance Basin of northwestern Colorado. (USFWS 1993)
State Rank
State State Rank
Colorado S1S2

This species is found in shale outcrops in the multimineral oil shale zone on barren white outcrops exposed through erosion from downcutting of streams. (USFWS 1993)P. obcordata is associated with Aquilegia barnebyi, and Astragalus lutosus (USFWS 1993).

Ecological Relationships

None known.

Common Name Name in Text Association Type Source InteractionID
Mining bees Andrenidae Confirmed Pollinator Link
Sweat bees Halictidae Confirmed Pollinator Link
Mining bees Andrenidae Confirmed Pollinator Link
Sweat bees Halictidae Confirmed Pollinator Link
Tachinid flies Tachinid flies Floral Visitor Link
Lead Institution State Reintroduction Type Year of First Outplanting

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