Page author: David Giblin
Barbarea orthoceras
American wintercress rocket, yellow rocket

Distribution: Widely distributed throughout Washington; Alaska to the mountains of California, east though the Rockies to the New England states.

Habitat: Meadows, stream banks and moist woods, low to mid-elevations in the mountains.

Flowers: March-July

Origin: Native

Conservation Status: Not of concern


Mostly glabrous biennial from a taproot and simple crown, the stems stiff, erect, angled, single but freely-branched, 2-6 dm. tall.


Basal leaves long-petiolate, up to 12 cm. long, the blade usually lyrate-pinnatifid to pinnate, the lateral lobes 8-10, entire to round-toothed, the terminal lobe ovate, entire or irregularly toothed, the petiole often with long, marginal hairs; cauline leaves alternate, similar to the basal but reduced upward, becoming simple and sagittate.


Inflorescence of compound or single and terminal racemes, with reduced racemes in the lower leaf axils; pedicles stout, 2-3 mm. long; sepals 4, pale yellowish-green, 2 mm. long; petals 4, yellow, spatulate-oblanceolate, 3-5 mm. long; stamens 6; style beak-like, 0.5-2 mm. long; stigma slightly lobed.


Siliques 1.5-5 cm. long and 1.5-2.5 mm. broad, slightly compressed, 4-angled, strongly 1-nerved full length, erect or strongly ascending, nearly straight.

Accepted Name:
Barbarea orthoceras Ledeb.
Publication: Index Seminum (Dorpat). 2. 1824. 1824.

Synonyms & Misapplications:
Barbarea americana Rydb. [Abrams]
Barbarea orthoceras Ledeb. var. dolichocarpa Fernald [Peck]
Barbarea stricta Andrz., misapplied [FNA7]
Campe orthoceras (Ledeb.) A. Heller
Additional Resources:

PNW Herbaria: Specimen records of Barbarea orthoceras in the Consortium of Pacific Northwest Herbaria database.

WA Flora Checklist: Barbarea orthoceras checklist entry.

E-Flora BC: Barbarea orthoceras atlas page.

CalPhotos: Barbarea orthoceras photos.

USDA Plants: Barbarea orthoceras information.

52 photographs:
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