Spring wildflowers are starting to add some color to the rather drab spring landscape. There is a general trend for wildflowers to be taller as the growing season progresses, so as you might expect, many of the spring wildflowers are short. You may even need to get down on your hands and knees to truly enjoy some of these spring beauties. One that I have become quite fond of is little bladderpod or Lesquerella ludoviciana. I don’t know why, but seeing it just makes me smile.
Little bladderpod is a small member of the mustard family. It can frequently be found on dry upland prairie across our region, but is perhaps most easily found on steep gravely hillsides. It grows to maybe four inches in height. You will quickly recognize it as a member of the mustard family by the four bright yellow petals which are between 1/4 and 1/2 inch long. Its common name, little bladderpod, is a reference to the roughly quarter of an inch diameter round seed pods that will develop. Each pod will contain between four and six small seeds.
Many people wonder how the terms used in scientific names originate. In this case, the genus Lesquerella is named in honor of Leo Lesquereux an early paleobotanist and bryologist. He was born Switzerland in 1806 and immigrated to the United States in 1847 to work with his friend Louis Agassiz. He went on to make many significant contributions to our knowledge of plants including publishing the “Manual of the Mosses of North America” with Agassiz in 1885. The epithet “ludoviciana” means “of Louisiana” a reference to the plant’s initial discovery by Thomas Nuttall on land of the Louisiana Purchase.
Most everyone in the Prairie Public listening area has some prairie nearby. Consider visiting some prairie over the course of this summer, there is much to see and learn. There are some good wildflower guides if you choose to go that route. Whatever your approach, you may reacquaint yourself with some old wildflower friends and undoubtedly make some new ones.
Natural North Dakota is supported by NDSU Central Grasslands Research Extension Center and Minot State University-Bottineau, and by the members of Prairie Public. Thanks to Sunny 101.9 in Bottineau for their recording services.
Listen To Radio Online
Log-on and dig deep into the news of the day. It’s all online in our Public NewsRoom.» Visit the Public NewsRoom
Your contributions make quality radio programming possible.» Pledge your support today.