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Shepherd's Cress

Teesdalia nudicaulis

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, Creeping Yellowcress, 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 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:
25 centimetres tall
Cliffs, grassland, heathland, meadows, rocky places, sand dunes, wasteland.

White, 4 petals
Tiny, white flowers with equal-sized petals. The flowers are clustered together at the top of the plant and each measure about 2mm across.
Notched and flattened, rounded pods.
A hairless annual flower with nearly leafless stems. The leaves are pinnate and appear inside a basal rosette.
Other Names:
Alpine Rockcress, Barestem Teesdalia, Pepper Cress, Small-flowered Alpine-cress.
Frequency (UK):

Other Information


Teesdalia nudicaulis, also known as small-flowered alpine-cress or alpine rockcress, is a species of flowering plant in the mustard family (Brassicaceae). It is native to Europe, Asia, and North Africa, and is found in a variety of habitats, including alpine meadows, rocky slopes, and cliffs. The plant is known for its small, white flowers and delicate, feathery leaves. It is a perennial plant, meaning it will come back year after year. Teesdalia nudicaulis is a small, low-growing plant that reaches a height of about 10 cm. It has a delicate, sprawling habit and is often used in rock gardens or as a groundcover plant. The plant is considered endangered in some parts of its native range due to habitat loss and overgrazing.


Shepherd's Cress: A Delightful Wildflower

Shepherd's Cress, scientifically known as Teesdalia nudicaulis, is a charming wildflower that has become a popular ornamental plant. Native to Europe and Asia, this plant is also commonly known as "Lady's Smock" or "Milkmaids". This name is a nod to its delicate white or pink blooms, which resemble the frocks worn by milkmaids in centuries past.

Shepherd's Cress is a small, low-growing plant that reaches only 8 to 12 inches tall. It produces dainty white or pink flowers, which are arranged in clusters that bloom from April to June. The leaves of this plant are also an attractive feature, with a rosette of green, slightly lobed leaves that grow from a basal rosette.

The beauty of Shepherd's Cress is not just limited to its appearance. It is also an important food source for many species of pollinators, including bees, butterflies, and hoverflies. This makes it an ideal choice for gardeners who want to create a wildlife-friendly environment. Additionally, the plant is easy to grow and is considered to be a low-maintenance wildflower.

Shepherd's Cress grows best in moist, fertile soil, in a location that receives full sun or light shade. It is a hardy plant that can tolerate a wide range of temperatures and is resistant to pests and diseases. In addition, it can easily be propagated through seed or division, making it a great option for those who want to create large drifts of this charming wildflower.

Shepherd's Cress is a delightful wildflower that is perfect for adding a touch of beauty to your garden. With its delicate blooms and attractive leaves, this plant is sure to bring joy to any gardener. Additionally, its importance as a food source for pollinators makes it a great choice for those who want to create a wildlife-friendly environment.

Shepherd's Cress is a versatile plant that can be used in a variety of different garden settings. It is a great choice for wildflower meadows, cottage gardens, rock gardens, and even as a border plant. Its low growing habit makes it ideal for planting in front of taller plants, as it won't obscure their view.

In addition to its ornamental value, Shepherd's Cress also has a long history of use in traditional medicine. Its leaves and stems have been used to treat a variety of ailments, including digestive problems, skin irritations, and respiratory issues. Although it is not recommended to use this plant for medicinal purposes without the guidance of a healthcare professional, it is interesting to note its historical uses.

If you're looking to add some color to your garden, Shepherd's Cress is an excellent choice. Its blooms come in shades of white, pink, and purple, adding a soft and gentle touch to any garden. And because it is easy to grow and care for, it's a great option for gardeners of all levels of experience.

Another benefit of Shepherd's Cress is its ability to attract pollinators to your garden. This is especially important in today's world where many pollinators, such as bees, are facing a decline in population due to loss of habitat and pesticide use. By planting Shepherd's Cress, you can help support pollinators and contribute to the health of the ecosystem.

Shepherd's Cress is a wonderful wildflower that is not only beautiful but also versatile, low-maintenance, and beneficial to the environment. So, whether you're an experienced gardener or just starting out, consider adding this charming plant to your garden today. Your local garden center should have seeds or seedlings available for planting, and with a little care, you'll soon be enjoying a garden filled with the delicate beauty of Shepherd's Cress.

Shepherd's Cress is also a great plant for those who enjoy foraging and using wild plants in their cooking. The young leaves and stems of this plant are edible and have a mild, slightly bitter flavor that adds a unique taste to salads and other dishes. Just be sure to only gather Shepherd's Cress from pesticide-free areas and avoid harvesting too much from a single location to ensure the plant remains sustainable.

Another interesting fact about Shepherd's Cress is that it was once believed to have magical properties. In folklore, it was said to bring good luck and prosperity to those who possessed it. It was also believed to protect against evil spirits and to bring happiness to the household where it was grown. While these beliefs may not have a scientific basis, it is still interesting to consider the cultural and historical significance of this charming wildflower.

Finally, it is important to note that Shepherd's Cress is considered a non-native invasive species in some regions, such as the United States. If you are planting Shepherd's Cress in an area where it is not native, be sure to research its impact on the local ecosystem before planting.

Shepherd's Cress is a charming wildflower that is not only beautiful but also versatile, low-maintenance, and beneficial to the environment. Whether you're planting it for its ornamental value, for its use in cooking, or simply for its cultural significance, this delightful plant is sure to bring joy to your garden.

Another aspect of Shepherd's Cress that makes it a popular choice for gardeners is its ability to tolerate drought conditions. Once established, this plant is capable of surviving with limited water, making it a great choice for gardeners who live in areas with drought conditions or limited water resources. This also makes it a low-maintenance option for gardeners who want to create a low-water garden.

Shepherd's Cress is also an excellent choice for those who are looking for a plant that can provide multiple seasons of interest. While its flowers are certainly a standout feature, the rosettes of leaves that form at the base of the plant are also attractive and provide a lush green backdrop to other plants in the garden. This plant will also often re-bloom later in the summer or fall, providing additional interest and color to the garden.

One last aspect of Shepherd's Cress to consider is its role in the ecosystem. As a food source for pollinators, this plant helps to support biodiversity in the garden. Additionally, its drought tolerance makes it an important species for stabilizing soil in areas prone to erosion. Whether you are planting Shepherd's Cress for its ornamental value, for its use in cooking, or for its role in the ecosystem, this delightful plant is sure to bring joy and benefits to your garden.

In conclusion, Shepherd's Cress is a versatile, low-maintenance, and beneficial wildflower that is perfect for gardeners of all levels of experience. Whether you're planting it for its delicate blooms, its culinary uses, or its role in supporting pollinators and the ecosystem, this charming plant is sure to bring beauty and joy to your garden for years to come.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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