Draba brachycarpa Nutt.
Family - Brassicaceae
Stems - To +/-10cm tall, multiple or single from the base, branching, erect, herbaceous, purplish in strong sun, densely appressed pubescent with forked hairs, from a small taproot.
Leaves - Alternate, petiolate below, sessile above. Petioles of lower leaves to +/-5mm long, flattened, with same pubescence as the stem. Blades ovate, typically with 2 small teeth or entire, with same pubescence as the stem, rounded to subacute at apex. Cauline leaves sessile, becoming lanceolate, densely pubescent, entire.
Inflorescence - Terminal and lateral compact racemes, elongating in fruit. Pedicels to -5mm long in flower. Pedicels and axis densely pubescent.
Flowers - Petals 4, erect to spreading, distinct, white, short-clawed, glabrous, to 3mm long, 2mm broad. Limb obovate, entire, rounded at apex. Stamens 6, erect. Filaments greenish, glabrous, 1mm long. Anthers yellow, .4mm long. Ovary glabrous, green with a purple tinge, 1mm long, slightly compressed, ovoid. Sepals 4, distinct, purplish with scarious margins, +1mm long, .7mm broad, oblong-ovate, round at the apex, pubescent as the stem but not as densely. Silicles glabrous, elliptic, tapering at both ends, to 6mm long.
Flowering - March - April.
Habitat - Fields, glades, pastures, prairies, roadsides, railroads.
Origin - Native to U.S.
Other info. - This tiny species is one of the first plants to bloom in the spring but is often overlooked because of its small size. The plant has a very short flowering period and is usually found in fruit. D. brachycarpa is very common in the lower half of Missouri and can be found in the northern half also.
Photographs taken at Eagle Bluffs Conservation Area, Boone County, MO., 3-14-03, and off Lee Rd 10, Lee County, AL., 2-16-06.