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

Descurainia sophia (L.) Webb ex Prantl
flixweed (herb sophia)
Brassicaceae (Mustard family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Paul Handford  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #65404)

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Distribution of Descurainia sophia
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Species Information

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Annual or biennial herb from a taproot; stems 30-100 cm tall, usually branched above, occasionally from the base; finely starlike-hairy, often greyish, sometimes with some simple hairs.
Basal leaves few; stem leaves very deeply twice or thrice pinnately lobed to twice or thrice compound, oblanceolate to widely egg-shaped, short-stalked, 2-10 cm long, ultimate lobes of leaves generally linear.
Racemes elongated; flower stalks slender, ascending, 7-14 mm long, less than half the length of the siliques; petals pale yellow, needle-like, spoon-shaped, about length of sepals; sepals 2-2.5 mm long, greenish or yellowish.
Siliques, nearly erect, linear, 11-33 mm long, 1-1.5 mm wide, inconspicuously constricted between the seeds, rounded at tip; seeds (12) 15-25 per chamber in one row, 0.7-1.5 mm long, oblong-elliptic.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat / Range

Mesic to dry fields and waste places in the lowland, steppe and montane zones; frequent throughout BC except Queen Charlotte Islands and adjacent coast; introduced from Eurasia.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Descurainia sophia

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) 184 782 1708
Slope Gradient (%) 0 23 100
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
12 187 340
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
0 3 7
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: BG(46), ESSF(4), IDF(14), MS(1), PP(5), SBPS(3)


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

Sisymbrium sophia L.
Sophia sophia (L.) Britton

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References