Page author: David Giblin
Descurainia sophia

Distribution: Occurring east of the Cascades in Washington; Alaska to California, east across North America to the Atlantic Coast.

Habitat: Weed of dry waste ground and other disturbed areas.

Flowers: March-July

Origin: Introduced from Eurasia

Growth Duration: Annual, Biennial

Conservation Status: Not of concern

Pollination: Bees, flies


Finely stellate, grayish annual, the stems 3-10 dm. tall, usually branched above and also occasionally branched below.


Leaves alternate, mainly cauline, numerous, 2-10 cm. long, oblong-ovate to oblanceolate, repeatedly compound into linear segments 1 mm. long.


Inflorescence of bractless racemes that are often half the length of the plant; pedicles slender, about 10 mm. long; sepals 4, spreading, 2-2.5 mm. long, greenish; petals 4, yellowish, filiform, spatulate, shorter than the sepals; stamens 6, well exerted; stigma sessile.


Siliques nearly erect, terete, linear, 2-3 cm. long and 1-1.5 mm. broad, somewhat lumpy, rounded at the tip; seeds in 1 series.

Accepted Name:
Descurainia sophia (L.) Webb ex Prantl
Publication: Nat. Pflanzenfam. 55(III,2): 192. 1891.

Synonyms & Misapplications:
(none provided)
Additional Resources:

PNW Herbaria: Specimen records of Descurainia sophia in the Consortium of Pacific Northwest Herbaria database.

WA Flora Checklist: Descurainia sophia checklist entry.

OregonFlora: Descurainia sophia information.

E-Flora BC: Descurainia sophia atlas page.

CalPhotos: Descurainia sophia photos.

USDA Plants: Descurainia sophia information.

30 photographs:
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