Common Rockcress (Perennial Rockcress)
Synonym: Boechera perennans
Family: Brassicaceae (A Utah Flora - Cruciferae) - Mustard Family
Perennial herbs; 3.5” to 2.1' (0.9 to 6.5 dm) tall
Leaves: alternate and basal; simple; basal leaves often toothed and hairy; upper leaves toothed or entire; can have hairs on not; upper leaves 0.28” to 1.6” (0.7 to 4 cm) long; 0.08” to 0.32” (2 to 8 mm) wide
Flowers: 4 petals in the shape of a cross or crucifer; 4 sepals; 6 stamens (with 2 outer shorter than the inner 4); 1 pistil; pink to lavender or less commonly white; flowers in corymbs or racemes; usually radially symmetrical; petals 0.2” to 0.36” (5 to 9 mm) long; nectar glands commonly 4
Pollinators: other Arabis species are pollinated by bees, moths and butterflies; self-fertile
Fruits: silique- a pod with 2 compartments with a thin partition
Blooms in Arches National Park: March, April, May
Habitat in Arches National Park: desert shrub communities
Location seen: Windows trail, Fiery Furnace parking lot, Fiery Furnace
Other: The genus name, “Arabis”, means “of Arabia” denoting where a member of this genus was discovered and the species name, “perennans”, means “perennial”.
Many plants in this family are weeds and they flower early because they are annual. Many vegetables are in this family– radish, cabbage, cauliflower. A few species of plants in this family are poisonous to livestock.
Did You Know?
The common raven displays abilities to play and problem-solve that are rare among animals. This member of the crow family is also very vocal, communicating with over a dozen sounds. Perhaps because of these qualities, ravens have achieved a certain stature in both European and Native American folklore.