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Flixweed (Bedground-weed; Tansy-mustard)

Descurainia sophia

Descurainia sophia

Synonym: Sisymbrium sophia

Family: Brassicaceae (A Utah Flora – Cruciferae) – Mustard Family

Annual or infrequently winter annual; stems 6.7” to 3.3' (1.7 to 10 dm) tall or more

Leaves: basal and alternate; lower compound to simple (pinnatifid), the upper smaller and compound or simple (pinnatifid); 0.4” to 4.8” (1 to 12 cm) long

Flowers: 4 cream to yellow petals in the shape of a cross or crucifer; petals 0.088” to 0.12” (2.2 to 3 mm) long; 4 yellowish deciduous sepals; 6 stamens; 1 pistil; nectar glands commonly 4' flowers in corymbs or racemes

Pollinators: other genera in this family are pollinated by insects (butterflies, moths, bees and flies); self-fertile

Fruits: silique - a pod with 2 compartments with a thin partition

Blooms in Arches National Park: April, May

Habitat in Arches National Park: disturbed areas, desert shrub and pinyon-juniper communities

Location seen: park road

Other: The genus name, “Descurainia”, honors Francois Descourain (1658-1740), a French botanist and physician/pharmacist. The species name,”sophia”, is from the Greek word meaning “wisdom”.

This is a non-native plant from Europe.

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?

John Wesley Wolfe

In the late 1800s, John Wesley Wolfe, a disabled Civil War veteran, and his son, Fred, built a homestead in what is now Arches National Park. A weathered log cabin, root cellar, and corral remain as evidence of the primitive ranch they operated for more than 10 years.