Draba verna L.

Draba verna plant

Family - Brassicaceae

Stems - Single or multiple from the base, from a small taproot, erect, herbaceous, typically simple, thin, terete, to +/-8cm tall, with forked pubescence, naked.

Leaves - In a basal rosette. The lowest of the rosette petiolate and spatulate. Upper leaves in rosette sessile, spatulate, acute, entire or with one or two serrations per margin. Leaves to +/-1cm long, 3-4mm broad, green, pubescent. The trichomes forked and often with pustulate bases.

Draba verna basalsBasal rosette of plant.

Inflorescence - Terminal raceme, compact in flower, quickly elongating in fruit. Pedicels 2-3mm long in flower, to +1cm in fruit, thin, mostly glabrous. Axis of inflorescence mostly glabrous.

Flowers - Petals 4, white, clawed, glabrous, deeply divided, to 3mm long, 2mm broad. Lobes of the petals rounded. Claw to .5mm long. Stamens 6, erect. Filaments greenish-white, to -2mm long, glabrous, somewhat succulent. Anthers yellow, .2mm broad and long. Ovary superior, green, glabrous, ovoid, 1.2mm long, 1mm in diameter (in flower). Stigma capitate. Style wanting. Sepals 4, green with whitish-scarious margins, strongly cupped, sparse forked pubescent externally, glabrous internally, to 2mm long, 1.5m broad. Fruit compressed, elliptoid to orbicular or ovoid, glabrous, to 5mm long, 2-4mm broad, many-seeded, 2-valved.

Draba verna flowerFlower.

Draba verna fruitFruit.

Flowering - February - April.

Habitat - Grassy and rocky open places, lawns, pastures, roadsides, cultivated fields, waste ground.

Origin - Native to U.S.

Other info. - This tiny species is found scattered throughout much of Missouri. The plant is quite small and easily overlooked. It is easy to identify because of its basal rosette of leaves and divided petals.
Steyermark lists two varieties for the plant. Variety verna has fruits which are up to 4 times as long as broad. Variety boerhaavii Van Hall (pictures above) has fruits which are at most 2 times as long as broad.

Photographs taken at Pilot Mountain State Park, NC., 3-9-03.


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