Open the Advanced Search

Hairy Whitlowgrass

Erophila majuscula

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, 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:
15 centimetres tall
Fields, gardens, grassland, heathland, lawns, mountains, roadsides, rocky places, sand dunes, walls.

White, 4 petals
The white flowers are tiny and appear in dense clusters. The petals are deeply cleft.
Oval, flattened pods.
A densely hairy plant with greyish-green leaves. The leaves are also lance-shaped and sometimes toothed. All leaves are in a basal rosette. Annual.
Frequency (UK):

Similar Species

Other Information


Erophila majuscula is a species of flowering plant in the family Brassicaceae. It is native to Europe and North Africa and is found in dry grasslands, heaths and other open, sunny areas. It has a distinctive appearance, with small white flowers, greyish-hairy leaves and shorter petioles than other Erophila species. The petals are also less deeply cleft. It is often confused with the related species Erophila glabrescens and Erophila verna, but can be distinguished by the shorter petioles and more hairs on the leaves. It is a low-growing annual plant, usually reaching a height of 10-15cm.


Hairy Whitlowgrass (Erophila majuscula) is a plant species that belongs to the Brassicaceae family, commonly known as the mustard family. It is native to Europe and is widely distributed in areas with moderate to high rainfall. This plant is also known by other common names such as Hairy Rockcress, Small-flowered Rockcress, and Hairy Draba.

Hairy Whitlowgrass is a biennial or a short-lived perennial plant that grows to a height of 20-30 cm. It has a rosette of leaves that are green and covered with short hairs. The leaves are oblong or lance-shaped and can grow up to 5 cm in length. During the second year of its growth, the plant produces a stem that bears yellow, four-petalled flowers. The flowers bloom from May to June and are about 5-8 mm in diameter.

Hairy Whitlowgrass is a plant of high conservation concern, and it is considered rare in many parts of Europe. This plant species is a specialized calcicole, which means that it grows on calcareous soils, such as chalk and limestone. Hairy Whitlowgrass can be found growing in a variety of habitats, including calcareous grasslands, cliffs, and rocky outcrops.

This plant species is of great ecological importance as it supports a rich insect fauna, including many species of pollinators. Hairy Whitlowgrass is also an important food source for several species of butterflies, moths, and bees.

Hairy Whitlowgrass is a beautiful and ecologically important plant species that deserves to be protected and conserved. If you come across this plant, take a moment to appreciate its beauty and the important role it plays in supporting the ecosystem.

Hairy Whitlowgrass has several uses in traditional medicine. In the past, it was used to treat wounds and skin infections due to its antiseptic properties. The plant has also been used to treat respiratory problems, such as bronchitis and asthma.

Hairy Whitlowgrass is a hardy plant that can grow in a variety of conditions. However, it is best grown in well-drained soil in a sunny location. The plant can be propagated by seed or by division of the rosette in the autumn.

It is important to note that Hairy Whitlowgrass is a protected species in some countries, and it is illegal to collect or remove it from the wild. If you are interested in growing this plant, it is best to purchase seeds from a reputable source or to propagate it from a cultivated specimen.

Hairy Whitlowgrass is a fascinating and ecologically important plant species that is worth learning more about. Whether you are interested in traditional medicine, gardening, or ecology, this plant is sure to capture your attention. By understanding the importance of this species, we can work together to conserve it for future generations to enjoy.

Hairy Whitlowgrass is also of great interest to botanists and taxonomists due to its close relationship to other members of the Brassicaceae family. The plant has a complex taxonomic history, with several subspecies and varieties being described over the years.

In terms of its conservation status, Hairy Whitlowgrass is considered endangered in many parts of Europe due to habitat loss and degradation. The plant is also threatened by the spread of invasive species, which can compete with it for resources and alter the composition of its native habitats.

Efforts to conserve Hairy Whitlowgrass and its habitats include habitat restoration and the creation of protected areas. Additionally, many organizations are working to raise awareness about the importance of this species and to encourage people to take action to protect it.

One of the most effective ways to conserve Hairy Whitlowgrass is to promote sustainable land use practices. This includes reducing the use of pesticides and fertilizers, and avoiding the disturbance of natural habitats. By working together, we can help to protect this beautiful and ecologically important plant species for future generations to enjoy.

In conclusion, Hairy Whitlowgrass is a fascinating and important plant species that deserves our attention and protection. Whether you are a botanist, a gardener, or simply someone who appreciates the beauty of nature, it is worth taking the time to learn more about this plant and the important role it plays in our ecosystem.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

Click to open an Interactive Map