Pretty Rockcress (Beauty Rockcress)
Arabis pulchra var. pallens
Synonym: Boechera pulchra
Family: Brassicaceae (A Utah Flora – Cruciferae) – Mustard Family
Perennial herbs; stems 5.9” to 2' (1.5 to 6 dm) tall
Leaves: alternate, and basal and still alternate; most simple; entire or toothed or with a wavy margin; has hairs; leaves in basal rosettes are 0.4” to 2.4” (1 to 6 cm) long, 0.08” to 0.24” (2 to 6 mm) wide; leaves on stem are 0.48” to 2.4” (1.2 to 6 cm) long, 0.04” to 0.2” (1 to 5 mm) wide
Flowers: 4 pale pink to white or lavender to purple petals in the shape of a cross or crucifer; petals are 0.4” to 0.74” (10 to 18.5 mm) long; 4 sepals; 6 stamens (with 2 outer shorter than the inner 4); 1 pistil; flowers in racemes; nectar glands commonly 4
Pollinators: other Arabis species are pollinated by insects (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 and pinyon-juniper communities
Location seen: Visitor Center area, park road mile 2, mile 8.8, Windows road just before Windows parking lot, Delicate Arch Viewpoint, Fiery Furnace
Other: The genus name, “Arabis”, means “of Arabia” and denotes where a member of this genus was discovered. The species name, “pulchra”, means “handsome or pretty” and describes the flowers. The variety name, “pallens”, means “pale” describing the petal color.
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 dirt is alive! A living crust called "Biological Soil Crust" covers much of Arches and the surrounding area. Composed of algae, lichens and bacteria, this crust provides a secure foundation for desert plants. Please stay on roads and trails to avoid trampling this important resource. More...