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?
Pinyon trees do not produce pine nuts every year. These delicious nuts can only be harvested every three to seven years. This irregular schedule prevents animals from adapting to an abundance of pine nuts and guarantees that at least some nuts will become new trees instead of a quick meal.