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This adventive winter annual is about 1-2' tall, branching occasionally. The variable stems are round, angular, or ridged; they are rather stout and have short appressed hairs. The basal leaves form a low rosette spanning about 6" across. They are broadly linear (usually broadest toward the middle), and dentate with widely spaced teeth or shallowly lobed along the margins. Like the stems, they have short appressed hairs. The cauline leaves alternate along the stems. They are similar to the basal leaves, although less likely to be lobed, and span up to 3" in length and 2/3" across. Sometimes the leaves have a shiny upper surface and their margins are curly or undulate.  The upper stems terminate in racemes of flowers. Each flower is about ¼" across when fully open and about 1/3" long. It consists of 4 petals that are yellow or bicolored (white near the throat of the flower, yellow toward the tips of the petals), 4 green sepals that are linear-lanceolate, and several stamens with dull brown anthers, and a pistil with a stout style. The petals are longer than sepals, and they become very narrow toward the base of the flower. The pedicel of each flower is about 1/3" long and quite stout. The blooming period occurs from mid-spring to early summer and lasts about 1-2 months. Each flower is replaced by a silique (slender seedpod) that is 2-4" long when fully mature and cylindrical in shape. This silique may be angular or round in cross-section. The siliques are widely spreading to ascending and almost resemble slender stems. The small seeds are oblongoid and brown. The root system consists of a taproot that is often stout. This plant spreads by reseeding itself. Cultivation


Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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