Arabidopsis thaliana (Mouse-ear Cress)
|Also known as:||Thale Cress|
|Habitat:||part shade, sun; sandy or gravelly soil, disturbed areas, along railroads, fields, woods, lawns, bluffs|
|Bloom season:||April - May|
|Plant height:||2 to 14 inches|
|Wetland Indicator Status:||none|
|MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):|
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Elongating cluster of stalked flowers at the ends of branching stems, with a few to several flowers open at the tip and fruit developing below. Flowers are about 1/8 inch across with 4 rounded white petals and 6 yellow stamens. The sepals behind the flower are about half as long as the petals and have a few hairs around the edges.
Leaves and stems:
Leaves are primarily basal with a few leaves widely spaced on the stems. Basal leaves are 1 to 2 inches long, up to ½ inch wide, oblong to narrowly spatula shaped, with rounded tips, stiff hairs across the surface, toothless or with tiny teeth around the edges, narrowing at the base to a stalk. Basal leaves may wither away as the plant matures.
Stem leaves are about 1 inch long, up to 3/8 inch wide, tapering to a point at both ends, stalkless and mostly toothless. Stems are bristly hairy at the base and hairless in the upper plant. Multiple stems may arise from the base.
An interesting weed, chosen for plant study and experiments worldwide, even on the International Space Station, due to its extremely short life cycle and ease of propagation. It can go from seed to maturity in about 6 weeks, and easily colonizes when left to its own devices. It is similar in appearance to the native Lyre-leaved Rock Cress (Arabidopsis lyrata), which has larger flowers, lobed or divided basal leaves, narrower stem leaves, and does not form colonies. Mouse-ear Cress is no doubt under-reported in Minnesota.
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Where to buy native seed and plants ↓
- Mouse-ear Cress plant
- early spring Mouse-ear Cress plant
- mature Mouse-ear Cress plant
- a colony of Mouse-ear Cress
- more flowers
Photos by K. Chayka and Peter M. Dziuk taken at a nursury grower's plot in Pine County.
Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?