White bladderpod

Distribution map of white bladderpod

Distribution

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Distribution map of white bladderpod (Physaria pallida ).

Scientific Name
Physaria pallida
Other Scientific Names
Lesquerella pallida, Vesicaria grandiflora var. pallida, Vesicaria pallida, Alyssum pallidum
Other Common Names
None
Status
Federally and State Endangered
Global Rank
G1
State Rank
S1

Global Location

White bladderpod is confined to a small area of San Augustine County in East Texas.

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Description

White bladderpod is a slender 30-60 cm tall annual. All green parts of the plant are covered with a layer of hair, except for the fruit. The microscopic hairs often split into three or four radiating side branches, each of which often divides into two more branches. Sometimes even these branches will divide yet again. The generally teardrop to egg-shaped leaves of the rosette have irregularly wavy edges but are sometimes smooth edged or lobed, and grow to 10 cm long. However, the leaves of the stem are elongate-teardrop shaped and decrease in size toward the top. Flowers occur in clusters along the stem. Four broadly teardrop-shaped petals are white with yellow bases and mustard-colored veins. Fruits are round to oval and 5-6 mm in diameter with 8-12 flat seeds.

White bladderpod has clustered flowers, which have four broadly teardrop-shaped, white petals with yellow bases and mustard-colored veins.

White bladderpod has clustered flowers, which have four broadly teardrop-shaped, white petals with yellow bases and mustard-colored veins.

Credit: Layla Dishman

Leaves on the stem of white bladderpod are elongate-teardrop shaped and grow increasingly smaller higher on the stem. Fruits are round to oval.

Leaves on the stem of white bladderpod are elongate-teardrop shaped and grow increasingly smaller higher on the stem. Fruits are round to oval.

Credit: Patrick Stark - Texas Parks & Wildlife Dept.

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Similar Species

There are no other bladderpods with white flowers in eastern Texas.

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Floral Characters

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Leaf Characters

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Habitat

White bladderpod occurs in openings of pine-oak forests in San Augustine County on alkaline, silty-sandy soils over ironstone, which are generally seep-fed in the winter and dry in the summer.

White bladderpod occurs in forest openings over sandy soils.

White bladderpod occurs in forest openings over sandy soils.

Credit: Jason Singhurst - Texas Parks & Wildlife Dept.

Life Cycle Events

Flowering occurs from April to May. In the heat of the summer, white bladderpod withers and dies. After the seeds germinate, a rosette of leaves forms and overwinters until the new stems emerge in the spring.

Survey Season

White bladderpod is easiest to locate while in flower from April to May, but with training, can be identified from the overwintering basal rosettes or the fruiting plants .

Comments

White bladderpod is being studied for its high amounts of hydroxyl fatty acids, which are used in lubricants like motor oils and hydraulic fluids. Currently, castor oil is the most widely commercially available hydroxyl fatty acid. The production of castor oil and the wastes of the castor oil plant are toxic to workers and the environment. Therefore, a substitute is being explored to replace castor oil, reinforce domestic supply, and increase the use of biodegradable vegetable oils. Bladderpods may be a possible replacement for castor oil, and white bladderpod in particular has been shown to produce some of the largest amounts of hydroxyl fatty acids (Salywon et al. 2005).

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