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Marsh Yellowcress

Rorippa palustris

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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, 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:
Annual or Perennial
Maximum Size:
30 centimetres tall
Fens, marshes, meadows, mud, wasteland, waterside, wetland.

Yellow, 4 petals
Marsh Yellowcress (Rorippa palustris) produces small, dainty flowers that are typically bright yellow in colour, giving the plant its common name. These flowers are arranged in clusters, forming delicate inflorescences that can add a vibrant splash of colour to wetland areas and ponds during its blooming season. Each individual flower has four petals, creating a cross-like shape, and they are often about 5-10 millimeters in diameter. The contrast of the bright yellow petals against the lush green foliage of the plant makes Marsh Yellowcress an attractive sight in its natural habitat. These flowers provide an essential nectar source for various pollinators and add to the overall biodiversity of wetland ecosystems.
Marsh Yellowcress (Rorippa palustris) produces elongated seed pods, also known as siliques, as its fruit. These seed pods are slender and cylindrical, typically ranging from 2 to 4 centimeters in length. They have a greenish hue and often hang from the stems of the plant in clusters. As the seed pods mature, they turn pale brown and may develop a slightly papery texture. Inside these siliques, you will find numerous small, oval-shaped seeds that are usually brown or dark in color. These seeds are arranged in a row within each pod. When the siliques mature and dry, they split open along their length to release the seeds, allowing them to disperse and germinate, contributing to the plant's reproduction and propagation in its wetland habitat.
The leaves of Marsh Yellowcress (Rorippa palustris) are typically lance-shaped or oblong with a distinct green coloration. They are pinnately compound, meaning they consist of multiple leaflets arranged in a row along the central stem. Each leaflet has a smooth, slightly wavy margin and may vary in size, with the lower leaflets being larger than the upper ones. The leaflets are often attached to the stem by short stalks or petioles. The leaves of Marsh Yellowcress have a glossy appearance and can range from 1 to 5 centimeters in length, depending on their position on the plant. The leaves play a crucial role in photosynthesis, enabling the plant to thrive in its wetland habitat by capturing sunlight and converting it into energy.
Marsh Yellowcress (Rorippa palustris) possesses a subtle and fresh aroma that is reminiscent of peppery and mustard-like notes. When you crush or bruise its leaves, a mild and pleasant scent is released, with hints of peppery spiciness. This delicate fragrance is often described as a blend of earthy and green undertones, making it a unique and inviting aroma, particularly when encountered in its natural wetland habitat.
Other Names:
Bog Marshcress, Bog Yellowcress, Common Yellowcress, Marsh Cress, Yellow Cress, Yellow Watercress.
Frequency (UK):
Occasionally seen  

Similar Species

Other Information


Rorippa palustris, also known as marsh yellowcress, is a perennial herb that is native to Europe, Asia, and North America. It is commonly found in wetland habitats such as marshes, fens, and wet meadows. The plant has small yellow flowers and basal rosettes of leaves. It is an important food source for various waterfowl species. It has also been traditionally used for medicinal purposes, mainly as a diuretic and as a remedy for kidney and bladder problems.


Marsh Yellowcress, also known as Rorippa palustris, is a perennial herb that is commonly found in wetlands and marshes throughout North America and Europe. This plant is known for its bright yellow flowers, which bloom from May to September, and its small, delicate leaves.

One of the unique characteristics of Marsh Yellowcress is its ability to tolerate a wide range of environmental conditions. This plant can grow in both acidic and alkaline soils, as well as in wet and dry conditions. It is also tolerant of salt and can be found in coastal marshes and salt marshes.

Marsh Yellowcress is an important food source for many species of wildlife, including waterfowl, shorebirds, and marsh birds. The seeds of the plant are a favorite food of many birds, and the leaves and stems are also edible for both birds and mammals.

In addition to its ecological value, Marsh Yellowcress has been used for medicinal purposes by indigenous peoples in North America. The plant has been used to treat a variety of ailments, including colds, flu, and fever. It has also been used as a diuretic, to help with digestion, and to treat skin conditions.

Despite its many benefits, Marsh Yellowcress is considered a threatened species in some parts of its range due to habitat loss and degradation. This highlights the importance of protecting and preserving wetlands and marshes, which are vital habitats for many species of plants and animals.

In addition to its ecological importance, Marsh Yellowcress is also an important species for research and conservation. Its tolerance of a wide range of environmental conditions makes it a valuable indicator species for wetland and marsh health. Researchers use Marsh Yellowcress as a model organism to study the effects of changes in water level, nutrient levels, and other factors on wetland plant communities.

Marsh Yellowcress is also a valuable species for restoration and conservation efforts. The plant is easy to propagate and can be used to restore wetlands and marshes that have been damaged or destroyed. It can also be used to create new wetlands and marshes, as it is a hardy and adaptable species that can tolerate a wide range of conditions.

Furthermore, Marsh Yellowcress is a good source of bioactive compounds, and it has been reported that it contains compounds such as flavonoids, phenolic acids, and carotenoids. These compounds have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties, and they have potential applications in food and pharmaceutical industry.

It is also worth mentioning that Marsh Yellowcress is a good source of nutrients, it is rich in vitamins A, C, and K, and it also contains small amounts of minerals like potassium and calcium. The leaves, flowers and seeds of the plant can be consumed as food, and it is a good addition to salads and sandwiches.

Overall, Marsh Yellowcress is a species with a wide range of ecological and economic values. Its ecological importance as a food source, indicator species, and restoration tool, coupled with its medicinal and nutritional properties, make it a valuable species to be protected and preserved.

Another benefit of Marsh Yellowcress is its ability to be used in phytoremediation. Phytoremediation is the use of plants to remove or neutralize pollutants from the soil and water. Marsh Yellowcress has been found to be effective in removing heavy metals and other pollutants from contaminated soils and water. This is due to its ability to tolerate high levels of pollution and its efficient uptake of pollutants through its roots.

Moreover, Marsh Yellowcress is also a known important nectar source for many pollinators such as bees, butterflies, and other insects. This makes it a vital plant for the preservation of pollinator populations, which are essential for the pollination of many of our crops and wildflowers.

In terms of human uses, Marsh Yellowcress is also a traditional medicinal herb in folk medicine. Historically, indigenous people used the plant to treat various ailments such as colds, flu, and fever. The plant is also known to be a diuretic, which helps to increase urine flow and can help with conditions such as edema.

In conclusion, Marsh Yellowcress (Rorippa palustris) is a valuable and versatile plant species that has a wide range of ecological and economic benefits. Its tolerance of a wide range of environmental conditions, its ability to remove pollutants, its medicinal properties, its nutritional value, and its importance as a food source and pollinator plant, make it a valuable species to be protected and preserved. Furthermore, it has potential applications in the food and pharmaceutical industry, which highlights the importance of further research on this species.


Video 1: Marsh Yellowcress filmed in Capernwray, Lancashire on the 17th July 2022.


Video 2: Marsh Yellowcress filmed at Duxbury in Lancashire on the 2nd July 2023.


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