Page authors: David Giblin, Ben Legler
Boechera atrorubens
dark-red-flowered rockcress

Distribution: Occurring east of the Cascades crest in central Washington; Washington to north-central Oregon.

Habitat: Sagebrush desert to ponderosa pine forest openings and meadows, from low to middle elevations.

Flowers: April-June

Origin: Native

Conservation Status: Review Group 1 in Washington (WANHP)


Short-lived perennial from a usually branched crown, the 1-several stems simple or branched above, 3-10 dm. tall, densely hairy below with stalked, branched to stellate hairs, usually glabrous above.


Basal leaves numerous, 2-9 cm. long and 2-8 mm. broad, oblanceolate, the blade few-toothed to entire, densely hairy at least below with cross-shaped or stellate hairs, narrowed to a slender petiole; cauline leaves numerous, linear lanceolate to oblanceolate, 2-8 cm. long and 2-6 mm. broad, mostly auriculate and entire.


Inflorescence a many-flowered raceme; pedicles 5-14 mm. long, glabrous to stellate; sepals 4, 3-6 mm. long, the outer 2 slightly gibbous-based; petals 4, white to deep red-violet, 6-14 mm. long; stamens 6; style none.


Siliques 4-12 mm. long and 1.5-2 mm. broad, glabrous, 1-nerved nearly full length, curved, spreading to ascending; seeds in 1 series, 1.5-2 mm. long, with a wing up to 0.5 mm. broad.

Identification Notes:

Often confused with B. sparsiflora, which has stem base hairs 0.4-1.5 mm long and basal leaf hairs 0.4-0.8 mm long (vs. stem base and basal leaf hairs 0.1-0.2 mm long in B. atrorubens). B. atrorubens appears to be relatively rare; most reports are misidentifications of B. sparsiflora.

Accepted Name:
Boechera atrorubens (Suksd. ex Greene) Windham & Al-Shehbaz
Publication: Harvard Pap. Bot. 11: 64. 2006.

Synonyms & Misapplications:
Arabis atrorubens Suksd. ex Greene [Abrams]
Arabis sparsiflora Nutt. var. atrorubens (Suksd. ex Greene) Rollins [HC]
Additional Resources:

PNW Herbaria: Specimen records of Boechera atrorubens in the Consortium of Pacific Northwest Herbaria database.

WA Flora Checklist: Boechera atrorubens checklist entry.

E-Flora BC: Boechera atrorubens atlas page.

CalPhotos: Boechera atrorubens photos.

USDA Plants: Boechera atrorubens information.

20 photographs:
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