Erysimum cheiranthoides (Wormseed Wallflower)

Plant Info
Also known as: Worm-seed Mustard, Treacle Mustard
Family:Brassicaceae (Mustard)
Life cycle:annual, biennial
  • Weedy
Habitat:part shade, sun; moist soil; disturbed areas, fields
Bloom season:June - August
Plant height:1 to 5 feet
Wetland Indicator Status:GP: FACU MW: FACU NCNE: FACU
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: 4-petals Cluster type: raceme Cluster type: round

[photo of flowers] Flowers are in rounded clusters at the top of the plant and the tip of stems arising from leaf axils in the upper plant. The blooming stems elongate as the plant matures, with blooms just at the top and fruit developing below. Individual flowers are yellow, from less than ¼ inch up to 1/3 inch across, with 4 rounded petals and 6 yellow-tipped stamens, 2 of which are shorter than the others.

Leaves and stem: Leaf attachment: alternate Leaf type: simple

[photo of leaves] Leaves are up to 4 inches long and ¾ inch wide, spreading to ascending, narrowly lance-elliptic, toothless or with a few small teeth, tapering to a point or blunt at the tip, and little or no stalk. Surfaces are covered in minute star-shaped hairs. Attachment is alternate. Leaves become somewhat smaller as they ascend the stem; those near the flowers may be much smaller. There is also a basal rosette of leaves that withers away by the time seed starts forming. The stem is angled, ribbed and covered in very short hairs.

Fruit: Fruit type: capsule/pod

[photo of spreading/ascending fruits] Fruit is a slender, straight 4-angled pod about 1 inch long containing a single row of seeds. Pods are spreading, ascending from the stalk, or nearly erect.


There are a number of yellow mustards in Minnesota. Typical ways to distinguish them are the shape of the leaves, the size of the flowers, and the shape and arrangement of the fruits. Wormseed Wallflower has flowers 1/3 inch across or less, leaves that are not divided or lobed, and also has a distinctly ribbed stem. Of the 2 other yellow mustards with similar leaves—both of which are native, Western Wallflower (Erysimum asperum) has flowers ¾ to 1 inch across and fruits to 3 inches long; Small-flowered Wallflower (Erysimum inconspicuum) has flowers 1/8 inch or less.

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More photos

Photos by K. Chayka taken in Dakota, Pope and Ramsey counties. Other photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk


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

Posted by: Dee T - Gilchrist Township, Pope County
on: 2018-05-04 21:29:08

Is this it? Taken on June 15, 2007; unfortunately I do not recall exactly where this was. The "lawn" there is huge.

Posted by: Pam Bartholomew - Blue Earth County
on: 2022-07-19 16:27:19

Wormseed Wallflower appeared in my shade garden this year. I pulled other plants that were overpowering the garden last year and had some exposed areas for the first time in a long time. I did pull out about half of it this summer out of concern it would over take the garden next year.

Posted by: Christa Drake - Lake Bemidji State Park in Beltrami County
on: 2023-07-13 09:37:06

We have this at Lake Bemidji State Park along our Rocky Point Trail.

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