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

Draba borealis DC.
northern draba (boreal draba; northern whitlow-grass)
Brassicaceae (Mustard family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Jamie Fenneman  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #7413)

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Distribution of Draba borealis
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Species Information

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Loosely tufted perennial herb from a taproot and a simple or branched stem-base; stems branched, erect or decumbent at base, 7-55 cm tall, hairy with some long, simple or occasionally branched hairs.
Basal leaves oblanceolate, 0.6-5 cm long, 3-18 mm wide, toothed or entire; stem leaves (2) 3-6 (10), egg-shaped to lanceolate, elliptic or oblong, 0.4-4 cm long, 0.2-1.8 cm wide, toothed or entire, hairy with 4- to 6-rayed, starlike hairs and often straight, simple or branched hairs.
Racemes several- to many-flowered, occasionally with solitary flowers in axils of upper leaves; flower stalks 3-16 mm long, ascending, straight, soft-hairy; petals white to cream, 4-6 mm long; sepals 2-3 mm long, soft-hairy.
Silicles, 7-14 mm long, 2-4 mm wide, lanceolate, twisted or plane; hairy with simple or branched hairs; styles 0.3-1 mm long.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat / Range

Moist to mesic meadows and gravelly floodplains in the subalpine and alpine zones; frequent in N BC; amphiberingian, N to AK, YT and NT and E to SW AB; E. Asia.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Draba borealis

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) 1640 1803 2220
Slope Gradient (%) 8 30 69
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
80 31 315
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
2 3 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: BAFA(1), ESSF(2)


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

Draba borealis var. maxima (Hultén) S.L. Welsh
Draba maxima Hultén
Draba mccallae Rydb.

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References