Open the Advanced Search

Mountain Scurvygrass

Cochlearia micacea

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.
For more information please download the BSBI Code of Conduct PDF document.


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, 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:
10 centimetres tall
Cliffs, gardens, mountains, rocky places, waterside.

White, 4 petals
Flower spikes consisting of white flowers (5 to 8mm in size).
Elongated pods (silicula), pointed at both ends.
A perennial flower with heart-shaped leaves. The lower leaves are stalked. The leaves do not clasp their stems.
Other Names:
Rock Scurvygrass.
Frequency (UK):
Rarely seen  

Other Information


Cochlearia micacea, also known as rock scurvygrass or mountain scurvygrass, is a perennial herb that is native to Europe, Asia, and North America. It is a member of the Brassicaceae family and typically grows to be about 10-30 cm tall. The plant has small, white flowers that bloom in the spring and early summer. The leaves are basal, spoon-shaped and succulent. It is commonly found in rocky and alpine areas, growing in crevices or in rocky soils.

Like other species of the genus Cochlearia, C. micacea has a high content of vitamin C and has been traditionally used for medicinal purposes, particularly for the treatment of scurvy. The leaves and stem can be eaten raw or cooked. It is not as widely cultivated as other species of the genus and it's not as common in cultivation. It is also used in cultivation as rock garden plants.


Mountain Scurvygrass, also known as Cochlearia micacea, is a hardy plant that is native to the alpine and arctic regions of Europe, Asia, and North America. It is a member of the Brassicaceae family, which also includes mustard, cabbage, and broccoli.

Mountain Scurvygrass is a small, low-growing plant that is well-adapted to cold, harsh environments. It typically grows to a height of 2-10 centimeters and has small, round leaves that are arranged in a basal rosette. The plant produces tiny white flowers that are clustered in a dense inflorescence at the top of a stem.

One of the most interesting features of Mountain Scurvygrass is its high concentration of vitamin C. In fact, the plant was traditionally used by indigenous peoples in the arctic regions of North America as a source of this important nutrient during the winter months, when fresh fruits and vegetables were scarce. The plant's ability to provide vitamin C made it an important food source for early explorers and settlers in these regions as well.

In addition to its nutritional value, Mountain Scurvygrass has also been used for medicinal purposes. The plant is astringent and has been used to treat diarrhea and other gastrointestinal ailments. It has also been used as a poultice for treating wounds and as a remedy for sore throats.

Despite its many uses, Mountain Scurvygrass is not commonly cultivated as a garden plant. This is partly due to its small size and partly because it is a wild plant that is best suited to alpine and arctic environments. However, for those who live in mountainous regions and are interested in cultivating native plants, Mountain Scurvygrass may be an interesting addition to a rock garden or other alpine planting.

Mountain Scurvygrass is an interesting and important plant that is well-adapted to harsh environments. Its high concentration of vitamin C and other medicinal properties make it an important plant for people who live in arctic and alpine regions, while its hardy nature and low-growing habit make it an interesting addition to mountain gardens.

Mountain Scurvygrass is also known for its resistance to extreme weather conditions, such as frost, wind, and snow. It is able to survive in high altitudes where other plants cannot, due to its ability to tolerate low temperatures and high levels of UV radiation.

In addition to its nutritional and medicinal uses, Mountain Scurvygrass has been used as a natural dye. The plant produces a yellow-green dye that was traditionally used by indigenous peoples in the arctic regions to color clothing and other textiles.

Despite its many benefits, Mountain Scurvygrass is not without its challenges. In some regions, the plant is threatened by climate change and habitat loss. As temperatures warm and glaciers retreat, the alpine and arctic regions where the plant thrives are becoming increasingly rare. Additionally, human activities such as mining, development, and recreational activities can impact the fragile ecosystems where Mountain Scurvygrass grows.

Efforts are being made to conserve and protect Mountain Scurvygrass and its habitat. In some regions, the plant is listed as a protected species, and conservation organizations are working to raise awareness of the importance of these fragile ecosystems.

Mountain Scurvygrass is an important and unique plant that is well-adapted to harsh environments. Its high concentration of vitamin C, medicinal properties, and natural dyeing capabilities make it an important resource for people who live in alpine and arctic regions. However, as with many species that are adapted to fragile ecosystems, it is important to protect and conserve Mountain Scurvygrass and its habitat to ensure that future generations can continue to benefit from this remarkable plant.

One interesting aspect of Mountain Scurvygrass is its relationship with pollinators. The plant produces small white flowers that are pollinated by a variety of insects, including bees, butterflies, and flies. In some regions, bumblebees are the primary pollinators of Mountain Scurvygrass. The plants provide an important source of nectar and pollen for these insects, which in turn play a critical role in pollinating other plants in the ecosystem.

Another interesting aspect of Mountain Scurvygrass is its use in traditional medicine. In addition to its use as a remedy for gastrointestinal ailments and sore throats, the plant has also been used to treat scurvy, a disease caused by a deficiency of vitamin C. The high concentration of vitamin C in Mountain Scurvygrass made it a valuable resource for sailors and explorers who suffered from scurvy during long voyages.

Today, Mountain Scurvygrass is not commonly used in modern medicine, as synthetic forms of vitamin C are readily available. However, the plant remains an important part of traditional healing practices in some indigenous communities, and its use is still documented in some herbal medicine texts.

Overall, Mountain Scurvygrass is a fascinating and important plant that has played an important role in the history and culture of alpine and arctic regions around the world. Its hardy nature, high concentration of vitamin C, and medicinal properties make it a valuable resource for people who live in these regions, while its unique adaptations and relationships with pollinators make it a fascinating subject of study for scientists and nature enthusiasts alike.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

Click to open an Interactive Map