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    The genus Thelypodium was named by Stephan Endlicher in 1839. The Greek "thely" means "woman" and "pod" means "foot" or "tender". Greek "thely" + "podium" means "female" + "foot", referring to the shape of the ovary. Intermountain Flora indicates that the name refers to the stipe (the stalk) of the ovary.

     Both Thelypodium species shown on this page inhabit occasionally moist, sandy areas.

Thelypodium integrifolium

Thelypodium integrifolium

Thelypodium integrifolium (Entire-leaf Thelypody)
Brassicaceae (Mustard Family)

Semi-desert, foothills. Shrublands, openings. Summer, fall.
Big Spring Trail, Canyonlands National Park, Utah, September 10, 2005 and Five Springs Farm, August, 2010.

You get noticed when you grow to nine feet tall and have multiple flower heads that look like bottle brushes.  Thelypodium integrifolium stems are maroon-to-green, leaves are narrow and long, flowers are raggedy, and seed pods are numerous and up-curved.

"Integrifolium" is Latin for "whole leaf", perhaps referring to the smooth margins of Thelypodium integrifolium leaves.

Thomas Nuttall collected the first specimen of this plant on his 1834-1837 trip across the North American continent with the Wyeth Expedition.  He named the plant Pachypodium integrifolium in 1838.  It was renamed Thelypodium integrifolium in 1842 by the Austrian botanist Stephan Endlicher.

Thelypodium integrifolium

Thelypodium integrifolium

Thelypodium integrifolium (Entire-leaf Thelypody)
Brassicaceae (Mustard Family)

Semi-desert, foothills. Shrublands, openings. Summer, fall.
Big Spring Trail, Canyonlands National Park, Utah, September 10, 2005.

Thelypodium integrifolium
Thelypodium integrifolium (Entire-leaf Thelypody)
Brassicaceae (Mustard Family)

Semi-desert, foothills. Shrublands, openings. Summer, fall.
Canyons of the Ancients National Monument, May 26, 2011.

Thelypodium integrifolium often grows in dense patches, as these young 2-3 foot tall shoots indicate.

 

Thelypodium laxiflorum
Thelypodium laxiflorum (Loose-flowered Thelypody)
Brassicaceae (Mustard Family)

Foothills. Shrublands, openings. Summer, fall.
Prater Ridge Trail, Mesa Verde National Park, August 6, 2005.

This is a very noticeable, raggedy, gangly five foot tall plant.  In the photograph at left we are looking down on the reclining plant from the height of six feet.  The main stem runs into the upper right corner of the photograph and a branch heads into the lower left corner. 

Flowers are lovely violet/pink/white in numerous terminal clusters.  Flowers are followed by five centimeter long, one millimeter thin seed pods that arch (usually upward) and then droop from their weight like garden beans.  The pods are further distinguished by the constrictions between seeds.

Thelypodium laxiflorum

Basal leaves are withered by flowering time ("anthesis"). Stem leaves are few.  The maroon-to-green stem itself often is bent over (as in the photograph at left) by the weight of the flowers and seeds.

"Laxiflorum" is Latin for "loose flowers" referring to the open, airy clustering of the flowers.

Thelypodium laxiflorum
Thelypodium laxiflorum (Loose-flowered Thelypody)
Brassicaceae (Mustard Family)

Foothills. Shrublands, openings. Summer, fall.
Upper Mule Canyon, Utah, October 23, 2006.

Marcus Jones collected this plant near Provo, Utah in 1895 but thought it was Thelypodium wrightii, a very similar species already named by Asa Gray in 1852 from a specimen collected by Charles Wright in Texas in 1849.  Ishan Al-Shehbaz, of the Missouri Botanical Garden and the University of Missouri in St. Louis, renamed the plant Thelypodium laxiflorum in 1973 from a specimen collected by L. C. Higgins in 1968 near Glenwood Springs, Colorado.

Thelypodium laxiflorum
Thelypodium laxiflorum (Loose-flowered Thelypody)
Brassicaceae (Mustard Family)

Foothills. Shrublands, openings. Summer, fall.
Upper Mule Canyon, Utah, October 23, 2006.

Thelypodium laxiflorum
Thelypodium laxiflorum (Loose-flowered Thelypody)
Brassicaceae (Mustard Family)

Foothills. Shrublands, openings. Summer, fall.
Prater Ridge Trail, Mesa Verde National Park, August 6, 2005.

Thelypodium laxiflorum
Thelypodium laxiflorum (Loose-flowered Thelypody)
Brassicaceae (Mustard Family)

Foothills. Shrublands, openings. Summer, fall.
Prater Ridge Trail, Mesa Verde National Park, August 6, 2005.

Range map © John Kartesz,
Floristic Synthesis of North America

State Color Key

Species present in state and native
Species present in state and exotic
Species not present in state

County Color Key

Species present and not rare
Species present and rare
Species extirpated (historic)
Species extinct
Species noxious
Species exotic and present
Native species, but adventive in state
Eradicated
Questionable presence

Range map for Thelypodium laxiflorum

Range map for Thelypodium integrifolium