Family: Brassicaceae (A Utah Flora - Cruciferae) - Mustard Family
Annual herbs; often with pungent watery juice or peppery sap; stems 1.2” to 1.3' (3 to 40 centimeters) tall
Leaves: basal and alternate; simple; hairy; toothed along margin; 0.48” to 3.6” (1.2 to 9 cm) long; 0.12” to 0.92” (0.3 to 2.3 cm) wide
Flowers: 4 pink to lavender petals in the shape of a cross or crucifer; 4 sepals (pink, purple or reddish); usually 6 stamens (with 2 outer shorter than the inner 4), sometimes 2 or 4; 1 pistil; nectar glands commonly 4; flowers 0.25” to 0.38” (6.2 to 9.5 mm) wide; flowers in a raceme
Pollinators: other genera in this family are pollinated by insects (specifically butterflies, moths, bees, flies); some self-fertile
Fruits: silique (many-seeded capsule) - a pod with 2 compartments with a thin partition
Blooms in Arches National Park: March, April, May, June
Habitat in Arches National Park: roadsides, foothills, and disturbed areas
Location seen: widespread, Arches National Park Visitor Center area, Courthouse Towers, Windows, outside Arches National Park in Mill Creek
Other: The genus name, “Malcolmia”, honors William Malcolm (1778-1805), a British horticulturalist, and the species name, “africana”, is named for this non-native weed's home continent of Africa.
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?
Edward Abbey worked as a seasonal park ranger at Arches in the late 1950s. His 1968 memoir of this experience, "Desert Solitaire," has become a classic of desert literature.