Federal and State Listed Species of Texas:
White bladderpod is confined to a small area of San Augustine County in East Texas.
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.
There are no other bladderpods with white flowers in eastern Texas.
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.
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.
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 .
- Salywon, A., D. Dierig, J. Rebman, and D. Jasso de Rodriguez. 2005. Evaluation of new Lesquerella and Physaria (Brassicaceae) oilseed germplasm. American Journal of Botany. 92: 53-62.
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).