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Yellow Rocketcress

Common Name: Yellow Rocketcress.

Scientific Name: Barbarea Vulgaris.

What to look for?  Clusters of tiny, yellow flowers sitting low to the ground in early Spring. This year the Yellow Rocketcress is in full bloom as a biennial. last year, this plant existed only as a rosette of basal leaves. It features multiple, green, branching stems arising from the base that form a clump. Leaves are green and oval-shaped. The leaves become progressively smaller as they ascend the stem.  The flowerhead, or inflorescence, is an erect dense rounded cluster, or raceme, of tiny, yellow flowers. These clusters elongate as the plant matures, with flowers blooming at the tip and fruit forming along the stem below. The fruits are slender green pods that hold numerous tiny brown seeds.

Where can they be found at Carillon Stonegate Pond? As you walk the path between the two Carillon Stonegate Ponds early this Spring, you will find Yellow Rocketcress growing along the edges west side of the path and on the field near the turn-around west of the pond.

How big are they? Yellow Rocketcress grows to approximately eight (8) to as much as thirty (30) inches tall. The flat leaves are approximately six (6) inches long and two (2) inches across. Each flowering cluster is approximately one and one-half (1.5) inches across with each individual flower approximately 1/3 of an inch across.

Where do they grow and thrive? Yellow Rocketcress is native to Europe and Asia but is widely naturalized across North America. It occurs in cultivated and fallow fields and pastures, along the banks of ponds and streams, along roadsides and railroads, in waste places, and in a variety of other open, disturbed areas.

When do they bloom? Yellow Rocketcress is a member of the mustard family and is a biennial plant. During spring of its second year, one or more flowering stalks rapidly rises upward. During the first year, it only forms a rosette of basal leaves.

Do birds, insects or other wildlife associate with this plant? The nectar and pollen of the Yellow Rocketcress flowers attract a variety of bees, and flies along with the occasional Cabbage White butterfly. The caterpillars of some butterflies and moths feed on the foliage or flowers, including the Cabbage White. Several leaf beetles and the stinkbug feed on Yellow Rocketcress.

Interesting Facts About the Yellow Rocketcress:

  • Yellow Rocket Cress, also known as Bittercress or Winter Cress, or also Yellow Rocket.

  • Yellow Rocketcress is a biennial plant that flowers during its second year.

  • Yellow Rocketcress is native to Europe and Asia.

FFor more information on the Yellow Rocketcress and sources of information used in this blog (these are several of the sources that I am using to learn as I blog), please visit Illinois Wildflowers, Minnesota Wildflowers, and Friends of the Wildflower Garden.

The Carillon at Stonegate community is very fortunate to have a variety of wetland, forest and prairie environments conducive to a variety of birds and other wildlife, insects and plants. Our community and the Kane County Forest Preserve do an exceptional job in maintaining this natural environment – both for the benefit of the birds and wildlife and for our residents to enjoy.


Take a hike and see what you can find – and identify!

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