The Temperate Database is in the process of being updated, with new records being added and old ones being checked and brought up to date where necessary. This record has not yet been checked and updated.
Common Name: Bladder Pod
Lesquerella fendleri is a perennial plant that can grow up to 0.40 metres tall.
It is harvested from the wild for local use as a source of materials.
South-western N. America - east to Kansas and south to N. Mexico.
Roadsides in open, sandy or rocky often calcareous soils[
Prefers a sunny position in a well-drained calcareous soil[
Plants are very hardy, tolerating temperatures down to as low as -18°c, but it is best suited in arid areas of 600-1800m above sea level and annual rainfall of 250-400mm and so does not generally do well in western Europe[
Bladderpod is reported to tolerate an annual precipitation of 30 to 110cm, an annual temperature range of 13 to 15°C and a pH in the range of 5.6 to 8.3[
The seeds germinate in the autumn, flower in the spring, and seed is harvested in late spring. This is indicative of its requirements for cool, semi-arid conditions during growth. The plant thrives in areas with 25 - 40 cm rainfall from September through April, suggestive of the requirements of winter grains. The plant responds well to irrigation. In Texas, massive populations thrive on calich soil. The plant is a pioneer on disturbed soils which are dry, open, well-drained sites. It will tolerate soils with basic reaction (pH 8.2 - 8.3) but not those with salt or gypsum.
The plant is reported to tolerate frost and high pH[
Bladder-pod is cultivated for the seed which yields up to 28% oil and 22% protein[
]. A relatively new crop, bladder-pod has no recognized cvs. Because it is very polymorphic, 'certainly the most polymorphic in the genus', it offers genetic material for selection and breeding[
In its native range, the plant is cold tolerant at altitudes of 1,200 - 2,100 m, suggesting its use for more northern cultivation.
At seed maturation or failing moisture, the plant dries and the taproot breaks off, allowing the dried plant to blow about like tumbleweeds, thus dispersing the seeds[
The seed yields up to 28% oil and 22% protein[
]. Average yields of 1.1 tonnes per hectare have been postulated and in small-scale experiments 1.6 tonnes has been attained[
]. The oil has possibilities in the manufacture of grease thickeners due to the hydroxy-acid content. Major amounts of hydroxy-acids occur in the obscure seed oils, among them Lesquerella, but few of them have been subjected to development. According to Osman and Ahmad (1981), the only hydroxylated vegetable oil commercially available is castor oil. Other potential sources include Castalis, Coriaria, Dimorphotheca, Hiptage, and Osteospermum[
Seed - we have no information for Britain, but in its native range the plant germinates in the autumn. Thus direct sowings in situ could be tried both in the autumn and in the spring in Britain[
]. Autumn sown crops ripen in early to mid summer[
]. Seeds can germinate after being dormant up to 5 years[
]. Under normal situations, light is required for germination[
]. Optimum germination temperature is 20°C[