Brassicaceae Lepidium montanum

Multiple images of white flowers with four rounded petals growing in clumps together.

Lepidium montanum

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

Perennial or biennial herbs; stems 1.2” to 3.9' (0.3 to 12 dm) tall

Leaves: basal or basal and alternate; simple; entire to pinnatifid; can have hairs; 0.2” to 5” (0.5 to 12.5 cm) long, 0.12” to 1” (3 to 25 mm) wide

Flowers: 4 white petals in the shape of a cross or crucifer; 4 sepals; typically 6 stamens (with 2 outer shorter than the inner 4); 1 pistil; flowers in corymbs or racemes; usually radially symmetrical; nectar glands commonly 4; petals 0.1 to 0.14” (2.5 to 3.5 mm) long

Pollinators: other Lepidium species are pollinated by insects

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

Blooms in Arches National Park: March, April, May, June, July, August

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

Location seen: widespread, upper Courthouse wash, Windows, Fiery Furnace parking lot, Devils Garden

Other: The genus name, “Lepidium”, is from the Greek “lepis” meaning “scale” and is a reference to the flattened shape of the fruit pods. The species name, “montanum”, means “of the mountains”.

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.

Last updated: December 12, 2022

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