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Montana Field Guides

Divide Bladderpod - Physaria klausii
Other Names:  Lesquerella klausii

Species of Concern
Native Species

Global Rank: G3
State Rank: S3
(see State Rank Reason below)
State Threat Score: Low
CCVI: Moderately Vulnerable

Agency Status


External Links

State Rank Reason (see State Rank above)
State endemic restricted to central-Montana with the majority of populations occurring in the Big Belt Mountains and extending north to the southern end of the Rocky Mountain Front. Many large populations exist and the species typically occurs on gravelly slopes that are not usually subject to human disturbance.
  • Details on Status Ranking and Review
    Divide Bladderpod (Physaria klausii) Conservation Status Review
    Review Date = 05/03/2013
    View State Conservation Rank Criteria
    Population Size

    Score1 - Moderate: Generally 10,000-100,000 individuals.

    Range Extent

    Score3 - Local Endemic or Very Small Montana Range: Generally restricted to an area <10,000 sq. miles (equivalent to the combined area of Phillips and Valley Counties) or <6 Sub-basins (4th code watersheds) Range-wide OR limited to one Sub-basin in Montana

    Area of Occupancy

    Score1 - Moderate: Generally occurring in 11-25 Subwatersheds (6th Code HUC’s).

    Environmental Specificity

    Score1 - Moderate: Species is restricted to a specific habitat that is more widely distributed or to several restricted habitats and is typically dependent upon relatively unaltered, good-quality habitat (C Values of 5-7).


    ScoreNA - Rank factor not assessed.

    CommentTrends unknown though populations are likely stable or experiencing only minor declines.


    Score0-1 - Low to Medium.

    Intrinsic Vulnerability

    Score0-1 - Low to Moderate Vulnerability.

    Raw Conservation Status Score

    Score 6 to 8 total points scored out of a possible 16 (Rarity factors and threats only).

General Description
Stems ascending, 4–20 cm from a simple caudex. Basal leaves rosulate, 1–4 cm long, the blade obovate to orbicular, entire or few-toothed. Stem leaves oblanceolate, entire or few-toothed. Vestiture of loosely spreading stellate hairs. Petals 6–8 mm long. Fruit obovate, slightly bilobed above, wider than high, 2–4 mm high, flattened perpendicular to the septum; style 2–3 mm long; seeds 2 per locule; pedicels sigmoid, 3–10 mm long (Lesica et al. 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. BRIT Press. Fort Worth, TX).

Flowering in May and June with fruiting usually beginning as early as late May and continuing into July.

Diagnostic Characteristics
Physaria geyeri closely resembles Physaria klausii and a technical manual should be consulted to distinguish between the two. The two species are usually separable by the smaller fruits of P. klausii and the mostly disjuct ranges of the two; with P. geyeri occurring to the south of P. klausii.

Species Range
Montana Range Range Descriptions


Range Comments
Montana endemic, restricted to Broadwater, Lewis and Clark, and Meagher Counties.

Observations in Montana Natural Heritage Program Database
Number of Observations: 104

(Click on the following maps and charts to see full sized version) Map Help and Descriptions
Relative Density



(Observations spanning multiple months or years are excluded from time charts)

Open shale slopes and gravelly areas, typically in bunchgrass communities in the montane to subalpine zone.
Predicted Suitable Habitat Model

This species has a Predicted Suitable Habitat Model available.

To learn how these Models were created see

Ecological Systems Associated with this Species

Most species of Physaria are cross-pollinated by insects. Seed dispersal is probably most prevalent near the parent plant, though longer dispersal by wind and gravity are possible. High recruitment levels the two years following a wildfire have been noted. Reproduction by seed is the only means of recruitment. Individual populations vary in size from a few plants to several thousand plants. P. klausii appears tolerant of light to moderate disturbance based on the unstable habitats it frequently occupies.

Threats or Limiting Factors
Reported threats to Montana's populations of Divide Bladderpod are primarily due to noxious weeds and livestock grazing and trampling (MTNHP Threat Assessment 2021). Noxious weeds are found at many populations. While many populations occur on rocky, steep terrain; some are accessible to livestock where disturbance from trampling is likely to benefit the spread of noxious species. One population is located where herbicide application is expected to have minor impacts. Another population was likely lost to conifer encroachment. Information about the likelihood for conifer encroachment to threaten Divide Bladderpod populations in the future is needed.

  • Literature Cited AboveLegend:   View Online Publication
    • Lesica, P., M.T. Lavin, and P.F. Stickney. 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. Fort Worth, TX: BRIT Press. viii + 771 p.
  • Additional ReferencesLegend:   View Online Publication
    Do you know of a citation we're missing?
    • Al-Shehbaz, I. A. and S. L. O'Kane. 2002. Lesquerella is united with Physaria (Brassicaceae). Novon 12:319-329.
    • Heidel, B.L. and S.V. Cooper. 1998. Botanical survey of the Scratchgravel Hills, Lewis & Clark County, Montana. Unpublished report to the Bureau of Land Management. Montana Natural Heritage Program, Helena, Montana. 44 pp. + appendices.
    • Lesica, P., M.T. Lavin, and P.F. Stickney. 2022. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants, Second Edition. Fort Worth, TX: BRIT Press. viii + 779 p.
    • Mincemoyer, S. 2005. Surveys of significant plant resources and related vegetation types for the Butte Office of the Bureau of Land Management. Montana Natural Heritage Program, Helena, MT. 11 pp + appendices.
    • Poole, J.M. and B.L. Heidel. 1993. Sensitive plant surveys in the Big Belt and Elkhorn Mountains, Helena National Forest, Montana. Unpublished report to the Helena National Forest. Montana Natural Heritage Program. Helena, MT. 129 pp. plus printouts, maps.
    • Rollins, R. C. 1984. Studies in the Cruciferae of western North America II. Contributions Gray Herbarium 214:1-18.
    • Rollins, R. C. 1993. The Cruciferae of Continental North America: systematics of the mustard family from the Arctic to Panama. Stanford University Press, Stanford, California. 976 pp.
    • Shelly, J.S. 1988. Status review of Lesquerella klausii, United States Forest Service, Region 1, Helena and Lewis and Clark National Forests, Montana. Unpublished report to U.S. Forest Service, Region 1, Missoula. Montana Natural Heritage Program, Helena, MT 82 pp.
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Citation for data on this website:
Divide Bladderpod — Physaria klausii.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from