Androsace occidentalis (Western Rock Jasmine)

Plant Info
Also known as: Western androsace
Family:Primulaceae (Primrose)
Life cycle:annual
Habitat:sun; dry sandy soil, grassy meadows, open fields, disturbed soil
Bloom season:April - May
Plant height:.5 to 3 inches
Wetland Indicator Status:GP: FACU MW: FACU NCNE: UPL
MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):Minnesota county distribution map
National distribution (click map to enlarge):National distribution map

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Detailed Information

Flower: Flower shape: 5-petals

[photo of flowers] 3 to 15 tiny white flowers on slender stalks radiate from the end of the stems. The flowers are very tiny, less than 1/8 inch, have 5 fused petals with distinct lobes that may be erect or spreading. The green tubular calyx holding the flower is minutely hairy, has 5 sharply pointed erect lobes and is longer than the flower.

[photo of bracts] At the base of the cluster is a whorl of leaf-like bracts that are egg to diamond shaped, up to about 1/6 inch long. Flower stalks are unequal in length.

Leaves and stems: Leaf attachment: basal Leaf type: simple

[photo of leaves] Leaves are in a tight basal rosette, oblong or lance shaped, up to 2/3 inch long, toothless or with shallow teeth, minutely hairy, tapered to a point at both ends on an obscure, minute stalk. A plant typically has multiple stems from the base but is unbranched; stems are minutely hairy.

Fruit: Fruit type: capsule/pod

Fruit is a smooth, round capsule about 1/6 inch long.


If American lotus (Nelumbo lutea) is noted as Minnesota's largest native wildflower, Western Rock Jasmine certainly vies for its smallest. It can have very dense populations but it takes a discerning and determined eye to pick it out of the landscape, and is only of interest to those who celebrate the diversity of nature. A keen eye may pick up on dots of olive-colored flower heads or perhaps reddish leaves buried in the grass. It is easily distinguished from its rare cousin, Northern Androsace (Androsace septentrionalis) which is larger in stature and has rather narrower bracts at the base of the flower cluster.

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More photos

Photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk taken at Hastings Sand Coulee SNA in Dakota county and a grass-free patch of lawn in Lino Lakes, Anoka county.


Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?

Posted by: Brian - St. Peter
on: 2014-04-27 19:46:37

This plant is flowering in many sites, often growing in dense colonies, at Morton Outcrops SNA right now.

Posted by: Arne - Montissippi Regional Park (Wright County)
on: 2015-06-23 20:48:03

Found in their oak savannah.

Posted by: Bill Wagner - Actually, western North Dakota
on: 2024-04-06 14:47:18

I live along the Knife River near Hazen, ND and found this little plant popping up just now out here in early April.

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