Draba aurea
golden draba, golden whitlow-grass

Distribution: Occurring east of the Cascades crest in north-central Washington; Alaska to north-central Washington, east to the Rocky Mountains; Greenland.

Habitat: Montane forest to alpine ridges or meadows.

Flowers: June-August

Origin: Native

Growth Duration: Perennial

Conservation Status: Sensitive in Washington (WANHP)


Perennials not forming clumps; base unbranched or branched; stems typically 1-3.5 dm, occasionally branched distally, pubescent with simple trichomes and 3-6-rayed trichomes.


Basal leaves forming rosettes, petioles ciliate with simple trichomes to 0.8 mm, blades narrower toward base, 1-3.7 cm long and 2-7 mm broad, margins entire or finely toothed, pubescent above and beneath, stalked trichomes with up to 8 rays, 0.2-0.5 mm; cauline leaves usually 5-20, sessile, ovate to lanceolate or sometimes narrower toward base, margins entire or dentate, pubescent above and beneath, upper surface sometimes with simple trichomes.


Inflorescence racemose, generally 18-52 flowered, rarely up to 72 flowered, usually bracteate proximally; rachis rigid, pubescence same as stem; fruiting pedicels spreading-ascending to nearly erect, not curved, 3-13 mm, same pubescence as stem; sepals 4, green to yellowish, oblong, 2.2-3 mm, pubescent with simple and branched trichomes; petals 4, yellow, slender and narrower toward base, 3.5-5 mm long and 1.5-2.5 mm broad; anthers approximately 0.5 mm, ovate.


Siliques, 6-17 mm long and 2-3.5 mm broad, often partially appressed to rachis, linear-lanceolate to lanceolate or may be slender and narrower toward base, twisted or plane, flattened; valves pubescent with simple trichomes and 2-4-rayed trichomes on short stalks; ovaries containing 28-38 or more ovules; seeds oblong, 0.9-1.3 mm long and about half as wide.

Accepted Name:
Draba aurea Vahl ex Hornem.
Publication: Fors. Oecon. Plantel. ed. 2. 599. 1806.

Synonyms & Misapplications:
Draba aurea Vahl ex Hornem. var. aurea [VPPNW2]
Draba aurea Vahl ex Hornem. var. aureiformis (Rydb.) O.E. Schulz
Draba aurea Vahl ex Hornem. var. leiocarpa (Payson & H. St. John) C.L. Hitchc. [VPPNW2]
Additional Resources:

PNW Herbaria: Specimen records of Draba aurea in the Consortium of Pacific Northwest Herbaria database.

WA Flora Checklist: Draba aurea checklist entry.

E-Flora BC: Draba aurea atlas page.

CalPhotos: Draba aurea photos.

USDA Plants: Draba aurea information.

3 photographs:
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