CPC Plant Profile: Dudley Bluffs Bladderpod
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Plant Profile

Dudley Bluffs Bladderpod (Physaria congesta)

View of this extremely small (less than 2 cm across) cushion plant. Note the linear silvery leaves. Photo Credit: Carol Dawson
Description
  • Global Rank: G1 - Critically Imperiled
  • Legal Status: Federally Threatened
  • Family: Brassicaceae
  • State: CO
  • Nature Serve ID: 137180
  • Date Inducted in National Collection: 02/10/1987

Lesquerella congesta, a herbaceous perennial, has bright yellow flowers that bloom in April and May in a dense cluster. Although the bright color stands out against the barren, white shale habitat, these plants are hard to see, being typically less than 2 cm across. A very long, thin taproot supports a single tight crown. The leaves are spatulate and hairy. Semi-spherical fruits form in late May or June. (Von Bargen 1997) Since 1982, five new species have been found in the Piceance Basin, Lesquerella congesta was one of them. It was found in Dudley Bluffs, a designated area of critical environmental concern (BLM land designation). The area is underlain by a wealth of oil shale so possible mining is a concern. The basin is poorly known botanically, so more species are likely to be found as exploration continues.

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Updates
  • 10/08/2020
  • Living Collection

The Denver Botanic Gardens has several thousand seeds in short and long-term storage as part of the Center for Plant Conservation's national collection of endangered plants. Additionally, this species is has been cultivated in the Endangered Species Garden at DBG.

  • 10/08/2020
  • Orthodox Seed Banking

The Denver Botanic Gardens has several thousand seeds in short and long-term storage as part of the Center for Plant Conservation's national collection of endangered plants. Additionally, this species is has been cultivated in the Endangered Species Garden at DBG.

  • 10/08/2020
  • Seed Collection

The Denver Botanic Gardens has several thousand seeds in short and long-term storage as part of the Center for Plant Conservation's national collection of endangered plants. Additionally, this species is has been cultivated in the Endangered Species Garden at DBG.

Nature Serve Biotics
  • 05/02/2017

Endemic to the Piceance Basin in Rio Blanco County of northwestern Colorado. Although there are 7 occurrences currently known, they are all within a 35 mile range, and are imminently threatened by oil and gas extraction, particularly oil shale mining, and surface mining for sodium mineral deposits.

Michelle DePrenger-Levin
  • 01/01/2010

Threats in include surface disturbances, mining potential development (USFWS 1990, 1993).

Michelle DePrenger-Levin
  • 01/01/2010

Approximately 10,000 individuals at the junction of Piceance Creek and Ryan Gulch, 2 miles north of Dudley Bluffs (Spackman 1997).

Michelle DePrenger-Levin
  • 01/01/2010

None known.

Michelle DePrenger-Levin
  • 01/01/2010

The Denver Botanic Gardens has several thousand seeds in short and long-term storage as part of the Center for Plant Conservation's national collection of endangered plants. Additionally, this species is has been cultivated in the Endangered Species Garden at DBG.

Michelle DePrenger-Levin
  • 01/01/2010

Management need include enforcing protection laws. Research needs include understanding this species reproductive biology and ecology, habitat requirements for all life stages and population dynamics.

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Photos
Nomenclature
Taxon Physaria congesta
Authority (Rollins) O'Kane & Al-Shehbaz
Family Brassicaceae
CPC Number 6371
ITIS 823078
USDA PHCO4
Common Names Dudley Bluffs bladderpod
Associated Scientific Names Lesquerella congesta | Physaria congesta
Distribution L. congesta is endemic to the Piceance Basin of Colorado (Rio Blanco Co.). (Colorado Native Plant Society 1997) There are seven known occurrences all of them within a 16 km range. Most of this species
State Rank
State State Rank
Colorado S1
Habitat

L. congesta is found along drainages on barren white outcrops of the Green River and Uinta Formations exposed through erosion from downcutting of streams, level surfaces at the points of ridges, oil shale outcrops in the multimineral oil shale zone. Elev. 6000-6700 ft. (Spackman 1997).

Ecological Relationships

The uncommon, condensed habit of growth of this species is found in certain taxa of Lesquerella and the related genus Physaria. The connection between all of these species seems to be the habitat of decomposed shales (Rollins 1984).

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

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