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

Rorippa palustris (L.) Besser
marsh yellow cress
Brassicaceae (Mustard family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Bryan Kelly-McArthur  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #83762)

E-Flora BC Static Map
Distribution of Rorippa palustris
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Species Information

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Annual, biennial, or short-lived perennial herb from a slender taproot; stems erect, 15-100 cm tall, simple to much branched from base, glabrous to stiff-hairy.
Basal and lower stem leaves oblong to oblanceolate, (4) 6-20 cm long, 0.5-4 cm wide, short-stalked to unstalked, irregularly saw-toothed, incised, deeply cleft, repand, or variously pinnately divided, with slightly clasping, ear-like lobes at the bases, sharp- or long-pointed at the tips; glabrous or stiff-hairy.
Inflorescence of spreading-ascending stalks, 3-14 mm long, glabrous to sparsely hairy; petals light yellow, 1-3.5 mm long, oblong to broadly spoon-shaped; sepals often yellowish or purplish, 1-2 mm long, glabrous.
Siliques, spreading to ascending, straight to somewhat upcurved, 3-14 mm long, 2-3 mm wide, egg-shaped to cylindric or clavate, 1- to 4-carpelled; beaks 0.2-1 mm long, straight, abruptly attached to apex; seeds brown to reddish-brown, mostly 0.4-0.6 mm long, minutely honeycombed and pimpled, 20-80.
At least six poorly defined varieties have been attributed to the BC flora, but are not treated here.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat / Range

Wet meadows and boggy areas in the lowland and lower montane zones; common throughout BC; circumboreal, throughout North America.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Rorippa palustris

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) 0 891 1475
Slope Gradient (%) 0 2 24
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
110 190 270
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
5 6 8
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: BWBS(2), CWH(2), ESSF(1), ICH(5), IDF(1), PP(1), SBPS(4), SWB(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

Rorippa islandica (Oeder) Borbás
Rorippa palustris subsp. fernaldiana (Butters & Abbe) Jonsell
Rorippa palustris subsp. fernaldiana
Rorippa palustris subsp. fernaldiana
Rorippa palustris subsp. fernaldiana
Rorippa palustris subsp. hispida (Desv.) Jonsell
Rorippa palustris subsp. occidentalis (S. Watson) Abrams
Rorippa palustris subsp. occidentalis
Rorippa palustris subsp. palustris (L.) Besser

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References