Erysimum asperum (Western Wallflower)
|Also known as:|
|Life cycle:||biennial, short-lived perennial|
|Habitat:||part shade, sun; rocky or sandy soil; hills, open plains and prairies, roadsides, river banks|
|Bloom season:||May - June|
|Plant height:||2 to 18 inches|
|Wetland Indicator Status:||none|
|MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):|
|National distribution (click map to enlarge):|
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Elongating cluster of stalked flowers at the tip of stems arising from leaf axils in the upper plant, and at the top of the stem. Flowers are bright yellow to orange-yellow, about ¾ inch across with 4 rounded petals and 6 stamens.
Leaves and stems:
Basal leaves, often withering away by fruiting time, are up to 4 inches long and ½ inch wide, widest above the middle, with a few widely spaced teeth, a pointed tip, and gradually tapering at the base.
Upper leaves are mostly toothless or with a few widely spaced teeth. All leaves are densely covered in short, star-shaped hairs and can give a gray-green appearance. Stems are rough-hairy, angled, may be multiple from the base and are mostly unbranched except in the flower clusters.
Western Wallflower is at the eastern edge of its range in Minnesota. It is not considered a rare species in the state even though there are only 7 records of it in the Bell Herbarium, the most recent collected back in 1962. We searched for it for several years both in likely habitats and at previously known locations, but finally had to go to North Dakota to track it down, not so far from the MN state line. It has possibly (likely?) been extirpated here. The large flowers and long fruits of Western Wallflower set it apart from both Wormseed Wallflower (Erysimum cheiranthoides), a common weedy species, and Small-flowered Wallflower (Erysimum inconspicuum).
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Photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk taken in western North Dakota.
Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?