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Glabrous Whitlowgrass

Erophila glabrescens

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

White, 4 petals
Flowers appear in tight clusters. They are small and have cleft petals. Similar to Common Whitlowgrass (Erophila verna) but the petals are less deeply cleft (only to half way).
The fruit is a flattened oval pod.
A sparsely hairy annual flower with lance-shaped, toothed basal leaves. No stem leaves. Similar in appeearance to Common Whitlowgrass (Erophila verna) but the leaves are longer stalked.
Frequency (UK):

Similar Species

Other Information


Erophila glabrescens, commonly known as Glabrous Whitlowgrass, is a species of flowering plant in the family Brassicaceae. It is native to Europe, where it is found in grassy areas, roadsides, and waste places. The plant has several subspecies, including Erophila verna subsp. glabrescens, Erophila verna subsp. praecox, and Erophila glabrescens Jordan. The species is similar to Erophila verna, but has smaller seeds and distinctively cleft petals. It is an annual plant, growing to a height of 10–40 cm, and flowering in spring or summer. The leaves are oval, and the flowers range in color from white to yellow.


Glabrous Whitlowgrass (Erophila glabrescens) is a type of annual herb that belongs to the family Brassicaceae. This plant is native to Europe and Asia, but can also be found in other parts of the world, such as North America.

The plant grows to a height of about 10-30 cm and has small, white flowers that bloom in spring and summer. The leaves are lance-shaped, dark green and grow to be about 1-2 cm long. The stems are often hairy, but can be smooth (hence the name "glabrous").

Glabrous Whitlowgrass is a hardy plant that can grow in a variety of habitats, including meadows, grasslands, and rocky areas. It is also often found in disturbed soils, such as along roadsides and in abandoned fields.

One of the unique features of Glabrous Whitlowgrass is its ability to tolerate a wide range of soil types and conditions. This makes it a popular choice for restoration and reforestation projects, as well as for use in green roofs and other types of landscaping.

In addition to its ornamental value, Glabrous Whitlowgrass also has some medicinal properties. The plant has been used for centuries to treat wounds and skin conditions, such as whitlow (a type of finger infection), and has also been used to treat respiratory conditions and as a diuretic.

Despite its many benefits, Glabrous Whitlowgrass can also become invasive in some areas, particularly if it is not properly managed. To prevent this, it is important to plant the plant in areas where it can be controlled, and to monitor its growth regularly.

Glabrous Whitlowgrass is a versatile and attractive plant that is well-suited to a variety of environments and uses. Whether you are looking to beautify your landscape, restore degraded habitats, or use the plant for its medicinal properties, Glabrous Whitlowgrass is definitely worth considering.

Another interesting aspect of Glabrous Whitlowgrass is its tolerance to heavy metal pollution. The plant is known to grow well in contaminated soils, which makes it a useful tool for phytoremediation, the process of using plants to remove pollutants from the environment.

Studies have shown that Glabrous Whitlowgrass can effectively absorb heavy metals such as lead, cadmium, and zinc from contaminated soils. The plant then accumulates the metals in its tissues, which can then be harvested and disposed of safely. This makes it a valuable tool for mitigating the effects of heavy metal pollution, particularly in urban areas where such pollution is a common problem.

In terms of wildlife, Glabrous Whitlowgrass provides a valuable food source for a range of insect pollinators, such as bees and butterflies, as well as for small mammals, birds, and other wildlife. The plant also provides important habitat for a range of invertebrates, such as spiders and ground beetles, which are important components of healthy ecosystems.

In cultivation, Glabrous Whitlowgrass is a relatively easy plant to grow and care for. It prefers full sun to light shade and well-draining soils. The plant can be propagated from seed, which can be sown directly in the ground in spring or fall, or from cuttings, which can be taken from mature plants in late summer or early fall.

In summary, Glabrous Whitlowgrass is a highly versatile and useful plant that has a wide range of benefits for both the environment and humans. Whether you are looking to beautify your landscape, clean up contaminated soils, or provide important habitat for wildlife, Glabrous Whitlowgrass is definitely worth considering.

It's worth noting that while Glabrous Whitlowgrass has many benefits, it's important to be cautious when planting it in areas where it is not native. In some cases, the introduction of non-native species can lead to ecological problems, such as the displacement of native species and the disruption of food webs.

To minimize the risk of these types of problems, it's important to carefully consider the local ecosystem before planting Glabrous Whitlowgrass. In some cases, it may be best to use native plant species instead, or to use Glabrous Whitlowgrass in conjunction with other plants that are native to the area.

In terms of maintenance, Glabrous Whitlowgrass is a relatively low-maintenance plant. It does not require regular watering or fertilization, and is resistant to most pests and diseases. However, it may need to be controlled in certain situations, such as if it begins to spread aggressively or if it begins to grow in areas where it is not wanted.

In terms of its ornamental value, Glabrous Whitlowgrass is a beautiful and delicate plant that is well-suited to a range of landscaping styles, from naturalistic to formal. Its small white flowers and delicate foliage provide a striking contrast against its dark green leaves, making it an excellent choice for adding color and texture to the landscape.

Finally, it's worth mentioning that Glabrous Whitlowgrass is a hardy plant that can withstand a range of environmental conditions, including cold temperatures and high winds. This makes it an ideal choice for planting in areas that are exposed to harsh weather conditions, such as coastal regions or high-elevation areas.

In conclusion, Glabrous Whitlowgrass is a highly versatile and valuable plant that has a wide range of benefits for the environment, wildlife, and humans. Whether you are looking to beautify your landscape, clean up contaminated soils, or provide important habitat for wildlife, Glabrous Whitlowgrass is definitely worth considering.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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