Physaria ludoviciana (Bladderpod)

Plant Info
Also known as: Lousiana Bladder-pod
Family:Brassicaceae (Mustard)
Life cycle:perennial
  • State Endangered
Habitat:sun; dry sandy or rocky soil; sand prairies, dunes, barrens, bedrock bluffs
Bloom season:May - June
Plant height:6 to 16 inches
Wetland Indicator Status:none
MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):Minnesota county distribution map
National distribution (click map to enlarge):National distribution map

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Detailed Information

Flower: Flower shape: 4-petals Cluster type: raceme

[photo of flowers] Elongating cluster of stalked flowers at the top of the stem. Flowers are about ¼ inch across with 4 yellow petals and 6 yellow stamens. The 4 sepals behind the flower are narrow and often spreading.

Leaves and stems: Leaf attachment: alternate Leaf attachment: basal Leaf type: simple

[photo of leaves] Leaves are densely covered in star-shaped white hairs that give them a silvery cast. Basal leaves are up to 4 inches long, narrowly lance or spatula-shaped to linear, toothless or with a few shallow teeth, blunt at the tip. Stem leaves are stalkless, mostly linear, becoming progressively smaller as they ascend the stem. Stems are also densely hairy, unbranched, with a few to several stems arising from the base, erect or sprawling but rising at the tip (decumbent).

Fruit: Fruit type: capsule/pod

[photo of fruit] Fruit is a round to oval pod up to ¼ inch across, the remains of the style persisting at the tip and about as long as the pod. The flower stem elongates to about ¾ inch and is spreading or curved down.


Bladderpod, formerly Lesquerella ludoviciana, is an Endangered species in Minnesota as well as a Threatened species in Wisconsin and Endangered in Illinois. Primarily a more western and southern species, our few disjunct populations are a bit beyond the eastern fringe of its natural range. According to the DNR, most of the known Minnesota populations are within the Red Wing city limits, naturally protected from human activity by their preferred habitat, which is not suitable for either grazing, farming, or recreational vehicles. It's biggest threats at the moment are encroaching woody plants and non-native invasive species. We need more fire!

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More photos

Photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk taken at Spring Creek Prairie SNA, Goodhue County.


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