Selenia aurea Nutt.

Selenia aurea plant

Family - Brassicaceae

Stems - To 30cm tall, erect, glabrous, herbaceous, multiple from base, from taproot, fragrant.

Selenia aurea stem

Leaves - Mostly in a basal rosette, pinnately divided (pinnatifid), to +3.5cm long, 7mm broad. Divisions typically 3-lobed, glabrous, 13-14 pairs per leaf. Lobes acute.

Selenia aurea leaves Leaves.

Inflorescence - Terminal bracteate raceme, compact in flower, elongating in fruit to +7cm long. Pedicels to 2.5cm long(in flower), glabrous.

Flowers - Petals 4, yellow, glabrous, 1.3cm long, to 5mm broad at apex, spatulate to oblanceolate, emarginate at apex, glabrous. Stamens 6, erect, subtended by small green nectaries. Filaments to 6mm long, yellow, glabrous. Anthers 1.2mm long, yellow-orange. Ovary on small gynophore (to 1mm long), 3mm long, glabrous, green, narrowly ovoid. Style to -4mm long, greenish-yellow. Sepals 4, slightly gibbous at base, greenish at first but becoming yellow, glabrous, 5-6mm long, to 3mm broad, acute, entire. Silique erect, highly compressed, to +2cm long, +7mm broad, beaked by persistent style, glabrous, light green with darker margins.

Selenia aurea calyxCalyx.

Selenia aurea flower

Selenia aurea fruitsFruits.

Flowering - April - May.

Habitat - Glades, rocky prairies, waste ground.

Origin - Native to U.S.

Other info. - This small, striking species can be found in a handful of west-central counties in the state. The plant can be found in large colonies and the brilliant yellow flowers light up their glade habitat. The plant is easy to I.D. in the field because of its pinnatifid leaves and striking flowers. S. aurea would make a magnificent garden subject in the right conditions were provided.

Photographs taken on Lichen Glade, St. Clair County, MO., 4-3-04.