E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia

Barbarea vulgaris W.T. Aiton
bitter winter cress (common winter cress; garden yellowrocket; yellow rocket)
Brassicaceae (Mustard family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Jamie Fenneman  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #2049)

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Distribution of Barbarea vulgaris
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Species Information

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Biennial from a taproot and a simple stem-base; stems 20-80 cm tall, coarse, erect, angled and branched.
Basal leaves pinnately lobed, long-stalked, less than 12 cm long, with 1-2 pairs of lateral lobes, terminal lobe largest, egg-shaped and entire or irregularly toothed; stalks and leaflets glabrous; lowermost stem leaves with 1-2 pairs of lateral lobes, upper generally lobed, not pinnately cleft.
In single and terminal racemes or more often in compound, reduced racemes in lower leaf axils; flower stalks slender, less than 1 mm wide, 3-5 mm long; petals bright yellow, spoon-shaped to oblanceolate, 6-8 mm long; sepals pale yellow-green, about 2 mm long.
Erect to ascending siliques, 1-3 cm long, straight; styles 2-3 mm long, distinctly beaklike; seeds 1-1.5 mm long, oblong.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat / Range

Moist to wet roadsides, fields and disturbed areas in the steppe and montane zones; frequent in S BC, rare northward; introduced from Eurasia.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Barbarea vulgaris

The table below shows the species-specific information calculated from
original data (BEC database) provided by the BC Ministry of Forests and Range.
(Updated August, 2013)

Site Information
Value / Class




Elevation (metres) 305 1102 1900
Slope Gradient (%) 0 12 25
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
328 327 328
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
4 4 4
Modal Nutrient Regime
Number of field plots
 species was recorded in:
Modal BEC Zone Class
All BEC Zones (# of stations/zone) species was recorded in: CWH(1), ESSF(1)


The climate type for this species, as reported in the: "British Columbia plant species codes and selected attributes. Version 6 Database" (Meidinger et al. 2008), is not evaluated, unknown or variable.

Synonyms and Alternate Names

Barbarea arcuata (Opiz ex J. Presl & C. Presl) Rchb.
Barbarea stricta auct. non Andrz.
Barbarea vulgaris var. arcuata (Opiz ex J. Presl & C. Presl) Fr.
Barbarea vulgaris var. brachycarpa Rouy & Foucaud
Barbarea vulgaris var. longisiliquosa Carion
Barbarea vulgaris var. sylvestris Fr.
Campe barbarea (L.) W. Wight ex Piper
Campe stricta auct. non (Andrz.) W. Wight ex Piper

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References