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

Introduction to Vascular Plants


© Bryan Kelly-McArthur     (Photo ID #83762)


E-Flora BC Static Map

Distribution of Rorippa palustris
Click here to view the full interactive map and legend

Species Information

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.

SourceThe Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


If more than one illustration is available for a species (e.g., separate illustrations were provided for two subspecies) then links to the separate images will be provided below. Note that individual subspecies or varietal illustrations are not always available.


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)
891 0 1475
Slope Gradient (%)
2 0 24

Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]

190 110 270
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
6 5 8
Modal Nutrient Regime
# 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)

Habitat and Range

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

SourceThe Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


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