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Creeping Yellowcress

Rorippa sylvestris

Please keep in mind that it is illegal to uproot a plant without the landowner's consent and care should be taken at all times not to damage wild plants. Wild plants should never be picked for pleasure and some plants are protected by law.
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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Brassicaceae (Cabbage)
Also in this family:
Alpine Pennycress, Alpine Rock-cress, American Wintercress, Annual Wall Rocket, Austrian Yellowcress, Awlwort, Bastard Cabbage, Black Mustard, Bristol Rock-cress, Charlock, Common Scurvygrass, Common Whitlowgrass, Coralroot, Cuckooflower, Dame's-violet, Danish Scurvygrass, Dittander, Early Wintercress, Eastern Rocket, English Scurvygrass, Evergreen Candytuft, False London Rocket, Field Pennycress, Field Pepperwort, Flixweed, Garden Arabis, Garden Candytuft, Garden Cress, Garden Radish, Garden Rocket, Garlic Mustard, Glabrous Whitlowgrass, Gold of Pleasure, Great Yellowcress, Greater Cuckooflower, Greater Periwinkle, Greater Swinecress, Hairy Bittercress, Hairy Rock-cress, Hairy Rocket, Hairy Whitlowgrass, Hedge Mustard, Hoary Cress, Hoary Mustard, Hoary Stock, Hoary Whitlowgrass, Honesty, Horseradish, Hutchinsia, Hybrid Watercress, Intermediate Periwinkle, Isle of Man Cabbage, Large Bittercress, Lesser Swinecress, London Rocket, Lundy Cabbage, Marsh Yellowcress, Mountain Scurvygrass, Narrow-fruited Watercress, Narrow-leaved Bittercress, Narrow-leaved Pepperwort, Northern Rock-cress, Northern Yellowcress, Oilseed Rape, Perennial Rocket, Perennial Wall Rocket, Perfoliate Pennycress, Pinnate Coralroot, Purple Rock-cress, Pyrenean Scurvygrass, Rock Whitlowgrass, Russian Rocket, Scottish Scurvygrass, Sea Kale, Sea Radish, Sea Rocket, Sea Stock, Shepherd's Cress, Shepherd's Purse, Small-flowered Wintercress, Smith's Pepperwort, Steppe Cabbage, Swede, Sweet Alyssum, Tall Rocket, Thale Cress, Tower Mustard, Treacle Mustard, Trefoil Cress, Turnip, Wall Whitlowgrass, Wallflower, Wallflower Cabbage, Warty Cabbage, Watercress, Wavy Bittercress, White Mustard, Wild Cabbage, Wild Candytuft, Wild Radish, Wild Turnip, Wintercress, Woad, Yellow Whitlowgrass
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
60 centimetres tall
Ditches, fens, gardens, grassland, lawns, marshes, meadows, riverbanks, riversides, roadsides, wasteland, waterside, wetland.

Yellow, 4 petals
4 to 6mm in size. Petals double the length of the sepals. 2 short stamens and 4 long stamens.
Long cylindrical seedpods. Long-stalked and usually curving upwards. Many-seeded.
A straggling perennial flower with angled stems. The leaves are pinnately lobed. The margins of the leaves look quite raggedy.
Other Names:
Buttery Yellowcress, Creeping Yellow Cress, Creeping Yellow-cress, Keek, Yellow Field Cress, Yellow Fieldcress.
Frequency (UK):
Occasionally seen  

Similar Species

Other Information


Rorippa sylvestris, also known as creeping yellowcress or buttery yellowcress, is a perennial herb in the family Brassicaceae. It is native to Europe, Asia, and North America, and can be found in wetland habitats such as marshes, fens, and wet meadows. The plant has small yellow flowers and basal rosettes of leaves. It is considered to be a good food source for waterfowl and it has also been traditionally used for medicinal purposes, mainly as a diuretic and as a remedy for kidney and bladder problems. It is also known as a weed in some regions, as it can grow aggressively in certain conditions.


Creeping Yellowcress, Rorippa sylvestris, is a perennial herb that is native to Europe and Asia. It is also known as marsh yellowcress, wild yellowcress, and creeping cress. This plant is commonly found in wetland areas, such as marshes, fens, and wet meadows. It is also found along the edges of streams and rivers, and in other damp habitats.

One of the key characteristics of Creeping Yellowcress is its creeping habit. The plant has long, creeping stems that can reach up to 60cm in length. These stems are usually green in color, and they are covered in small, feathery leaves. The leaves are typically around 2-4cm in length, and they are bright green in color.

The flowers of Creeping Yellowcress are small and yellow, and they are arranged in clusters. They typically appear in the summer, from June to August. The flowers are followed by small, round seed capsules, which are about 1cm in diameter.

Creeping Yellowcress is a very hardy plant, and it can tolerate a wide range of conditions. It can grow in both full sun and partial shade, and it can tolerate a wide range of soil types. It is also tolerant of flooding and drought. This makes it a great plant for wetland restoration projects and for landscaping in damp areas.

Despite its hardiness, Creeping Yellowcress is not considered to be an invasive species in most parts of the world. It is a very important food source for many species of waterfowl, and it is also an important source of nectar for many species of bees and other insects.

Overall, Creeping Yellowcress is a valuable plant for both wildlife and for landscaping in damp areas. It is easy to grow, hardy and tolerant to a wide range of conditions, and it is not considered to be invasive. If you're looking for a wetland plant that can thrive in many different conditions, Creeping Yellowcress is definitely worth considering.

Another important aspect of Creeping Yellowcress is its medicinal properties. This plant has been used for centuries in traditional medicine to treat a variety of ailments. The leaves, stem and roots of the plant contain compounds that have anti-inflammatory, diuretic, and antioxidant properties.

Traditionally, Creeping Yellowcress has been used to treat conditions such as kidney stones, urinary tract infections, and edema. It has also been used to reduce inflammation in the joints and to improve circulation. The plant is also believed to have a mild sedative effect, which makes it useful for treating anxiety and insomnia.

In addition to its medicinal properties, Creeping Yellowcress is also edible. The leaves and stems of the plant are edible and can be used in salads, sandwiches and soups. They have a slightly bitter and spicy taste and are a good source of vitamins and minerals.

The plant is also used as a herbal tea. The leaves and stems of the plant are dried and then brewed, after which they can be used to make a tea. The tea is said to have a calming effect and is good for digestive issues.

It is important to note that Creeping Yellowcress should not be used medicinally by pregnant or breastfeeding women, or by people with kidney or liver disease. It should also not be used in large amounts as it can cause gastrointestinal discomfort.

Another aspect of Creeping Yellowcress that is worth mentioning is its ecological importance. As mentioned earlier, the plant is a valuable food source for many species of waterfowl, and it is also an important source of nectar for many species of bees and other insects.

The plant's leaves and stems are a preferred food source for many species of waterfowl, such as Mallards, Black Ducks, and Canada Geese. The seeds of the plant are also an important food source for waterfowl during the winter months.

In addition to waterfowl, Creeping Yellowcress is also an important food source for many species of insects, such as bees, butterflies, and moths. The plant's flowers provide nectar for these insects, which in turn are important pollinators for many other plant species.

The plant's ecological importance is not limited to its role as a food source. Creeping Yellowcress also plays an important role in the overall health of wetland ecosystems. The plant helps to stabilize the soil and reduce erosion, and it also helps to improve water quality by removing excess nutrients from the water.

In summary, Creeping Yellowcress is not only an important wetland plant for its hardiness, tolerance and ability to thrive in many different conditions, but also for its medicinal and nutritional properties, as well as its ecological importance. It is a valuable addition to any wetland restoration project, landscaping or personal use. Its role as a food source for waterfowl and insects, and its ability to improve water quality and reduce erosion make it a valuable asset to wetland ecosystems.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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