The Sonoran Desert Florilegium

plants of the florilegium

Physaria gordonii
Gordon's bladderpod

FAMILY:  Brassicaceae — Mustard family

SYNONYMS:  Lesquerella gordonii

ETYMOLOGY:  The current classification for Gordon's bladderpod places it in the genus Physaria, a name based on the Greek word physa, or bladder, a reference to the plant's inflated, bladder-like seed pods.

Previously, the plant had been placed in the genus Lesquerella, named in honor of Charles Leo lesquereux (1806-1889), a Swiss naturalist who emigrated to America and became expert in the study of fossil botany.

Bladderpod's specific epithet gordonii honors Alexander Gordon who collected the specimen for Asa Gray, the original author of the species, in New Mexico in 1848.

DESCRIPTION:  Bladderpod is a spring annual. With favorable fall and winter rains, the bright yellow flowers will carpet large areas of the desert. The stems and leaves are light gray-green due to the sparse to dense covering of fine silvery hair. The leaves are narrow and lance or spatula shaped. Basal leaves are often lobed. The round inflated fruit that develops after pollination gives bladderpod its name.

It blooms from January to April, occurring on desert flats and slopes at elevations between 100 and 5,000'.