Open the Advanced Search

Alpine Rock-cress

Arabis alpina

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, 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 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:
20 centimetres tall
Cliffs, meadows, mountains, rocky places.

White, 4 petals
White flowers, 6 to 14mm across in size. Pollinated by bees, butterflies and moths.
The fruit is a cylindrical pod. Its seed ripen in June.
A perennial plant with short stalked, greyish-green leaves. Leaf margins are wavy-toothed. Found on mountain ledges on the Isle of Skye.
Other Names:
Alpine Wallcress.
Frequency (UK):
Rarely seen  

Similar Species

Other Information


Arabis alpina, also known as Alpine rockcress or alpine wallcress, is a species of flowering plant in the family Brassicaceae. It is native to the mountains of Europe and Asia and 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 10-20 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


Alpine Rock-cress, or Arabis alpina, is a beautiful and hardy plant that thrives in alpine environments. It is a member of the Brassicaceae family, which includes other notable plants such as broccoli and mustard. Arabis alpina is also known by several other common names, such as Alpine Rock-cabbage, Alpine Wallflower, and Alpine Cress.

Arabis alpina is native to the European Alps, as well as other mountainous regions in Europe and Asia. It is a perennial plant that typically grows to a height of 10-20 cm. The plant is characterized by its narrow, lance-shaped leaves, which are around 2-6 cm long and are a bluish-green color. The flowers of Arabis alpina are white and have four petals. They bloom in late spring and early summer, and are followed by slender seed pods that can reach up to 6 cm in length.

One of the most notable features of Arabis alpina is its ability to thrive in harsh alpine environments. It is often found growing in rocky or gravelly soils, and is able to withstand cold temperatures and high altitudes. This makes it a popular choice for alpine gardens and rock gardens, where it can add a touch of delicate beauty to an otherwise rugged environment.

In addition to its ornamental value, Arabis alpina also has several practical uses. It has been used in traditional medicine to treat various ailments, such as coughs, colds, and rheumatism. The leaves of the plant are also edible and can be used in salads or as a garnish.

If you are interested in growing Arabis alpina, there are a few things to keep in mind. The plant prefers well-drained soils and a sunny location. It can be propagated through division or from seed, and requires minimal maintenance once established. As with any alpine plant, it is important to protect Arabis alpina from excessive moisture, as this can lead to rot and other problems.

In the wild, Arabis alpina can be found growing on rocky outcroppings, in alpine meadows, and on mountain slopes at elevations ranging from 1,500 to 3,000 meters. It is also tolerant of extreme weather conditions, including snow, frost, and drought.

In addition to its beauty and resilience, Arabis alpina also plays an important role in alpine ecosystems. Its flowers provide a valuable source of nectar for pollinators such as bees and butterflies, while its leaves provide food and habitat for various insects and other small animals.

Arabis alpina is not just a popular choice for alpine gardens and rock gardens, but it can also be used as a groundcover in other garden settings. It is often planted along the edges of paths or borders, where its compact size and delicate flowers can add a touch of elegance and beauty to any landscape.

One of the best things about Arabis alpina is its ability to spread and fill in spaces quickly, making it a great option for those looking to create a low-maintenance groundcover. It is also a useful plant for erosion control, as its extensive root system can help stabilize soil on slopes and prevent soil erosion.

Arabis alpina is a wonderful plant that is well-suited to alpine environments and can also thrive in other garden settings. Its beauty, resilience, and practical applications make it a valuable addition to any garden, and it is sure to bring joy and admiration to all who see it.

Arabis alpina is not only valued for its beauty and practical uses, but it also has a rich cultural history. In traditional folklore, the plant was associated with protection and warding off evil spirits. It was also believed to have healing properties and was used in various traditional remedies to treat ailments such as colds and coughs.

In modern times, Arabis alpina has been the subject of scientific research due to its potential medicinal properties. Studies have found that the plant contains several bioactive compounds, including flavonoids and phenolic acids, that have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anti-cancer properties. As a result, Arabis alpina is being explored as a potential source of natural medicines.

In addition to its medicinal uses, Arabis alpina is also an important component of traditional cuisine in certain regions. The young leaves and stems of the plant are sometimes used in salads, while the dried leaves can be used to make a tea. In some areas, the seed pods are also used as a seasoning or condiment.

Arabis alpina is not only a popular plant in its native regions, but it has also become a popular ornamental plant in many other parts of the world. Its beauty, resilience, and low maintenance requirements make it an attractive choice for gardens and landscaping in a variety of settings.

In addition to its aesthetic and practical uses, Arabis alpina is also an important plant for ecological restoration projects. Its ability to grow in harsh alpine environments makes it a valuable tool for restoring degraded alpine habitats, which are often vulnerable to erosion, soil degradation, and other environmental stresses.

Alpine habitats are also important for biodiversity conservation, as they provide habitat for a wide range of plant and animal species that are adapted to these unique environments. Arabis alpina plays an important role in alpine ecosystems by providing food and habitat for various insects and other small animals, and its flowers provide a valuable source of nectar for pollinators.

Despite its many benefits, Arabis alpina is also vulnerable to various threats, such as habitat loss, climate change, and invasive species. As a result, efforts are being made to protect and conserve this important plant, both in its native range and in other parts of the world where it has been introduced.

In conclusion, Arabis alpina is a beautiful, resilient, and valuable plant that has many practical and ecological uses. Its beauty and hardiness make it a popular choice for gardens and landscaping, while its ecological value and potential medicinal properties make it an important plant for conservation and scientific research.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

Click to open an Interactive Map