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Small-flowered Wintercress

Barbarea stricta

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, 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, 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:
Biennial or Perennial
Maximum Size:
60 centimetres tall
Ditches, marshes, roadsides, wasteland, waterside, wetland.

Yellow, 4 petals
Flowers appear in clusters. The flowers are smaller than the other wintercresses on this website. Flowers measure just 5 to 6mm across.
The fruit is a cylindrical pod.
A perennial flower with basal and stem leaves. The stem leaves are alternate and arrow-shaped at their bases. Leaves are large-toothed. Basal leaves are pinnately lobed. The leaves reach 7cm in length.
Other Names:
American Wintercress, Small-flowered Yellow Rocket, Upright Wintercress.
Frequency (UK):

Similar Species

Other Information


Barbarea stricta, also known as upright wintercress or American wintercress, is a species of flowering plant in the mustard family. It is native to North America, specifically in the central and eastern regions of the United States and Canada. It typically grows in moist, disturbed areas such as along roadsides and in waste places, and is considered a noxious weed in some areas. The plant has yellow flowers and leaves that are lobed and toothed. It is considered a winter annual plant, which means it completes its life cycle within one year. The plant has a tall, upright growth habit, with leaves that are arranged alternately along the stem. It is often confused with other similar species like Barbarea verna and Barbarea intermedia.


Small-flowered Wintercress (Barbarea stricta) is a biennial plant that is native to North America. This plant is also commonly known as Upland Yellow Rocket or Strict Rocket. It is part of the Brassicaceae family and is closely related to the garden rocket.

The plant grows up to 60 cm in height and has a rosette of leaves at the base. The leaves are oblong in shape and have a slightly toothed margin. In the second year of growth, the plant will produce a stem that carries yellow flowers with four petals. These flowers bloom from May to July and are followed by small, flattened seedpods.

Small-flowered Wintercress is a hardy plant and can grow in a variety of soils. It is often found in grasslands, meadows, and waste areas. This plant is considered an invasive species in some areas, particularly in Europe, where it has spread and displaced native vegetation. In North America, it is considered a weed in some agricultural areas.

Despite its classification as a weed, Small-flowered Wintercress has some important ecological benefits. It provides nectar and pollen for a variety of insects, including bees and butterflies. Additionally, the leaves of the plant are edible and can be used as a source of food for livestock and wildlife.

Small-flowered Wintercress (Barbarea stricta) is a hardy, biennial plant that is native to North America. Although it is considered a weed in some areas, it is important for the ecological health of the ecosystem, providing food and habitat for a variety of wildlife.

Small-flowered Wintercress (Barbarea stricta) is also known for its medicinal properties. The plant has been used for centuries as a medicinal herb and has been traditionally used to treat a variety of ailments, including digestive problems, respiratory issues, and skin conditions. The plant contains compounds such as flavonoids, carotenoids, and phenolic acids that are believed to be responsible for its medicinal properties.

In addition to its medicinal benefits, Small-flowered Wintercress is also edible. The young leaves of the plant can be consumed raw in salads, or they can be cooked and used in a variety of dishes. The leaves are rich in vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C, calcium, and iron. They are also a good source of fiber and protein.

Cultivation of Small-flowered Wintercress is relatively easy and can be done in a variety of soils. The plant prefers well-drained soil and full sun, but it can tolerate partial shade. It is a self-seeder and will produce new plants from its seeds in the second year of growth.

Small-flowered Wintercress (Barbarea stricta) is a versatile plant that has a range of benefits. It is considered an invasive weed in some areas, but it is also an important source of food and medicine for wildlife and humans. The plant is easy to cultivate and has a range of uses, including as a medicinal herb and as a food source.

In addition to its ecological and medicinal benefits, Small-flowered Wintercress (Barbarea stricta) also has ornamental value. Its yellow flowers are attractive to pollinators and add color to gardens and natural areas. The plant is suitable for use in wildflower gardens, meadows, and naturalized areas.

Small-flowered Wintercress is also a good option for gardeners looking for a low-maintenance plant. It is hardy and can tolerate a range of environmental conditions, including drought and cold temperatures. The plant does not require regular watering or fertilizing, making it an ideal choice for gardeners who are looking for low-maintenance plants.

There are a few considerations to keep in mind when growing Small-flowered Wintercress. As the plant is considered a weed in some areas, it is important to monitor its growth and control its spread. Gardeners should also be aware that the plant is toxic to livestock and pets, so it is important to plant it in an area that is not accessible to animals.

In conclusion, Small-flowered Wintercress (Barbarea stricta) is a versatile and attractive plant that has a range of benefits. It is a good option for gardeners who are looking for a low-maintenance plant and for those who are interested in adding color to their gardens and natural areas. The plant is also important for the ecological health of the ecosystem and has medicinal and food uses.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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