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View of Bell's twinpod in bloom from above.

Bell’s twinpod

Fruits of Bell’s twinpod, are found in pairs giving the plant its name.

Physaria bellii

Identification

Bell’s twinpod is a perennial plant in the mustard family with numerous yellow flowers and blueish-green basal leaves. The basal leaves form a rosette (a cluster of leaves close to the ground) from a central point. Stems spread out from the base of the plant, close to the ground, 2-5 in/5-13 cm.  Leaves are generally long and narrow, with the central rosette leaves broader. Leaves are hairy, giving them a silvery color.

Observation Tips

Bell’s twinpod is found along the Front Range in Colorado and can be seen from several city and county Open Space trails and roads, flowering May through June and fruiting July and August.

Interesting Fact

Fruits of Bell’s twinpod, are found in pairs giving the plant its name.

Ideal Habitat

Bell’s twinpod is found along the Front Range foothills in Larimer and Boulder counties, Colorado. It is restricted to outcrops of the Niobrara and Pierre formations, and red sandstone outcrops (Fountain, Ingleside, and Lykins formations), found often on shale and limestone soils with rock fragments on the soil surface (>10% rock cover). Bell’s twinpod grows within grasslands and shrublands, rocky areas, and roadcuts. This plant is commonly found with mountain mahogany, indian ricegrass, broom snakeweed, skunkbush, needlegrass, yucca, and picklypear cactus.

Bell's twinpod range map. Range is a small part of north central Colorado.

Range Map provided by US Department of Ag, PLANTS Database

Management Activities that Benefit Species – Best Management Practices (BMPs)

Maintain intact grasslands and shrublands along the Front Range foothills. Weed management should follow an integrated approach to reduce the threat from weeds without impacting this rare plant. Because Bell’s twinpod is tolerant to low levels of disturbance, rotational and moderately stocked cattle and wildlife grazing is compatible in areas with this rare plant. Where habitat is degraded, restoration actions can be effective in improving habitat.

Management Activities to Avoid

Avoid residential development, limestone mining, and road construction within known Bell’s twinpod habitat.

Other Species that Benefit from Similar Habitat Management

Other foothills grassland and shrubland species will benefit from management for Bell’s twinpod, including mountain mahogany and Indian ricegrass.

Download

Download the Bell’s twinpod factsheet

Descarga la ficha de Bell’s twinpod

Other Resources

Colorado Natural Heritage Program. Colorado Rare Plant Guide. Physaria bellii

Panjabi, S.S. and G. Smith, 2014. Recommended best management practices for Bell’s twinpod (Physaria bellii): practices developed to reduce the impacts of road maintenance activities to plants of concern. Colorado Natural Heritage Program, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado.

NatureServe. 2021. NatureServe Explorer: An online encyclopedia of life [web application]. Version 7.1. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia. Physaria bellii

US Department of Agriculture, NRCS. 2020. The PLANTS Database. National Plant Data Team, Greensboro, NC 27401-4901, USA. Physaria bellii

 

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