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Bristol Rock-cress

Arabis scabra

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, 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 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
Cliffs, meadows, mountains, rocky places, sea cliffs, seaside.

White, 4 petals
Creamy-white flowers, 5 to 7mm in size.
The fruit is a cylindrical pod.
A hairy, short-lived perennial plant with a single unbranched, erect stem. The leaves are mostly basal in a rosette at the base of the plant. The leaves are dark green and well-toothed. Stems have only a few leaves. Found mainly around the rocky cliffs of Bristol.
Frequency (UK):
Rarely seen  

Similar Species

Other Information


Arabis scabra, also known as rough rockcress or rough wallcress, is a species of flowering plant in the family Brassicaceae. It is native to Europe and western Asia, and it typically grows in rocky or gravelly habitats, such as rocky outcroppings, talus slopes, and alpine meadows. The plant is a small perennial herb that typically grows to be around 60 cm tall, with simple, linear leaves and small white or pink flowers that bloom in spring. The leaves are narrow and hairy. It is drought-tolerant, can grow in poor soils and is able to colonize harsh environments with low nutrient availability and high levels of exposure. It's considered a model organism for studying the adaptation of plants to environmental stress and for understanding the molecular mechanisms of plant adaptation to environmental changes. It is hardy in USDA zones 3-8.


Bristol Rock-cress, also known as Arabis scabra, is a small, flowering plant native to the rocky cliffs and ledges of the Appalachian Mountains in the eastern United States. This plant is a member of the Brassicaceae family, which includes many familiar vegetables such as broccoli, kale, and mustard.

Bristol Rock-cress is a perennial herb that grows to be about 1-2 feet tall. It has a thick taproot that allows it to survive in harsh, rocky soil conditions. The leaves of the plant are oblong and toothed, and are a pale green color. The flowers of Bristol Rock-cress are small and white, and are arranged in clusters at the tips of the stems.

One of the most interesting things about Bristol Rock-cress is its pollination strategy. The plant relies on a specific type of bee, called the mining bee, to pollinate its flowers. Mining bees are small, solitary bees that burrow into the ground to create their nests. Bristol Rock-cress has evolved to produce flowers that are only accessible to these bees, which helps to ensure that the plant is able to reproduce successfully.

Bristol Rock-cress is a rare plant that is found in only a few locations in the eastern United States. It is considered to be an endangered species, and is protected by both state and federal laws. Habitat loss, climate change, and the introduction of non-native plant species are all threats to the survival of Bristol Rock-cress.

Despite its rarity, Bristol Rock-cress is a valuable plant for both its ecological and cultural significance. The plant plays an important role in the ecosystem, providing habitat and food for a variety of insects and other wildlife. In addition, Bristol Rock-cress has been used for centuries by Native American tribes for medicinal purposes. The plant was traditionally used to treat a variety of ailments, including digestive issues and respiratory problems.

Efforts are currently underway to protect and conserve Bristol Rock-cress and other rare plant species in the United States. These efforts include habitat restoration, captive breeding programs, and public education campaigns. By working to protect Bristol Rock-cress, we can help to ensure that this important plant species continues to thrive for generations to come.

Bristol Rock-cress is a plant that is adapted to harsh environments, and is often found in rocky, mountainous terrain. The plant has a thick, waxy coating on its leaves that helps to protect it from the sun and wind. In addition, the plant's deep taproot allows it to reach water and nutrients in soil that is too rocky for most other plants to grow in.

The flowers of Bristol Rock-cress are an important food source for many species of insects, including mining bees, butterflies, and moths. These insects rely on the nectar and pollen of the plant to survive, and in turn, they help to pollinate the flowers and ensure the plant's continued reproduction.

In addition to its ecological importance, Bristol Rock-cress has also played an important role in human culture. The plant has been used by Native American tribes for centuries as a medicinal herb. The leaves and roots of the plant were traditionally used to treat a variety of ailments, including coughs, colds, and digestive issues.

Bristol Rock-cress is also an important symbol of the Appalachian Mountains, where it is found. The plant's ability to survive in harsh environments is seen as a reflection of the resilience and toughness of the people who live in this region. In addition, the plant's rare and endangered status has made it a symbol of the need to protect and conserve the natural environment.

Efforts to protect Bristol Rock-cress and other rare plant species are important for a variety of reasons. By preserving these plants, we can help to maintain the biodiversity of the natural environment, and ensure that important ecological functions are maintained. In addition, rare plants such as Bristol Rock-cress can be a source of valuable genetic material that can be used to develop new medicines and other products.

Bristol Rock-cress is an important plant species that is currently facing a number of threats to its survival. One of the biggest threats to the plant is habitat loss, as the areas where the plant is found are often subject to development or other types of land use changes. Climate change is another major threat, as rising temperatures and changes in precipitation patterns could lead to changes in the plant's habitat and range.

In addition, the introduction of non-native plant species is a major concern for Bristol Rock-cress and other rare plants. Non-native plants can outcompete native species for resources, and can also disrupt the delicate ecological balance of the region.

Efforts to protect Bristol Rock-cress and other rare plant species are therefore focused on a variety of strategies. One important strategy is habitat restoration, which involves restoring areas where the plant is found to their natural state. This can include removing invasive species, planting native plants, and restoring natural features such as streams and wetlands.

Captive breeding programs are also being used to help protect Bristol Rock-cress and other rare plants. These programs involve growing plants in controlled environments, and then reintroducing them to the wild once they are strong enough to survive on their own. This can help to increase the population of rare plant species, and can also provide valuable genetic material for research and conservation efforts.

Public education campaigns are another important strategy for protecting Bristol Rock-cress and other rare plant species. By raising awareness about the importance of these plants, and the threats they face, it is possible to build support for conservation efforts and encourage people to take action to protect these valuable resources.

In conclusion, Bristol Rock-cress is a rare and important plant species that is found in the Appalachian Mountains of the eastern United States. This plant plays an important role in the ecology of the region, and is also a valuable resource for human society. Efforts to protect Bristol Rock-cress and other rare plant species are therefore crucial, and will require a combination of conservation strategies, public education, and ongoing research and monitoring.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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