Physaria kingii

(S. Watson) O’Kane & Al-Shehbaz

Novon 12: 324. 2002.

Common names: King bladderpod
Basionym: Vesicaria kingii S. Watson Proc. Amer. Acad. Arts 20: 353. 1885
Synonyms: Lesquerella kingii (S. Watson) S. Watson
Treatment appears in FNA Volume 7. Treatment on page 645. Mentioned on page 620, 622, 623.

Perennials; caudex usually simple, sometimes branched, (not thickened); usually densely pubescent, trichomes (sessile or short-stalked), 3–7-rayed, rays distinct or slightly fused at base, typically furcate near base, bifurcate or 3-partite, (not to slightly umbonate, smooth or moderately to strongly tuberculate). Stems few to several from base, prostrate to decumbent or erect, 0.5–2(–4) dm. Basal leaves: blade suborbicular to narrowly or broadly oblanceolate to broadly elliptic or rhombic, (1.2–)2–6(–8) cm, (base usually abruptly narrowed to petiole), margins entire, sinuate, or lobed. Cauline leaves: (proximal petiolate, distal sessile); blade obovate or elliptic to spatulate, 0.5–2 cm, margins entire. Racemes (usually not secund), dense, (sometimes elongated in fruit). Fruiting pedicels (erect to divaricate-ascending or recurved, erect in distal 1/3, usually sigmoid, sometimes straight or slightly curved), 4.5–10(–15) mm. Flowers: sepals lanceolate, 4–6(–7) mm; petals (yellow, cream-yellow, cream-white, or white), obovate to oblanceolate, 6–13 mm, (claw weakly differentiated from blade). Fruits (sessile or substipitate), subglobose, obovoid, or ellipsoid, compressed (sometimes slightly angustiseptate), 3–9 mm, (rigid, apex truncate, retuse, or rounded-acute); valves sparsely or densely pubescent, sometimes sparsely pubescent inside; (septum sometimes fenestrate, perforate, or obsolete); ovules 4–16 per ovary; style 1–9 mm. Seeds flattened (sometimes slightly).


V7 1077-distribution-map.gif

Ariz., Calif., Idaho, Nev., Oreg., Utah, nw Mexico.


Subspecies 7 (7 in the flora).

The Physaria kingii complex is in need of further study. It is widespread in the western United States, mostly in montane environments. This treatment recognizes a highly variable species with generally well-marked, geographically coherent subspecies. Hybridization may be involved in some of the subspecies, especially in subsp. kaibabensis, where molecular data indicate intra-individual genetic variation (pers. obs.).

Selected References



1 Fruits slightly wider than long, apices truncate or retuse, valves pubescent inside > 2
1 Fruits as wide as or longer than wide, apices rounded-acute, valves glabrous inside > 3
2 Basal leaf blades: margins ± entire (sometimes slightly lobed or widened at base); California, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon. Physaria kingii subsp. kingii
2 Basal leaf blades: margins sinuate or lobed, or, sometimes, lyrate; Wallowa and Elkhorn mountains, Oregon. Physaria kingii subsp. diversifolia
3 Fruiting pedicels recurved. Physaria kingii subsp. cobrensis
3 Fruiting pedicels not recurved (divaricate-ascending or ± erect, straight or sigmoid) > 4
4 Petals cream-white or white; styles 1-2 mm; Kaibab Plateau, n Arizona. Physaria kingii subsp. kaibabensis
4 Petals yellow (occasionally cream-yellow or cream-white on Kaibab Plateau, Arizona); styles (4-)4.5-9 mm; n Arizona (including Kaibab Plateau), California, Nevada, Utah > 5
5 Plants erect; styles 6-9 mm; ovules 4-8 per ovary; se California. Physaria kingii subsp. bernardina
5 Plants ascending, erect, decumbent, or prostrate; styles (4-)4.5-7 mm; ovules (6-)8-16 per ovary; n Arizona, e California, s Nevada, Utah > 6
6 Plants prostrate, decumbent, or erect; racemes not or somewhat secund in fruit; ovules usually 8-16 per ovary; n Arizona, e California, s Nevada, Utah. Physaria kingii subsp. latifolia
6 Plants ascending; racemes secund in fruit; ovules (6-)8-12 per ovary; n Utah. Physaria kingii subsp. utahensis