Draba verna L.

Vernal Whitlow Grass


CC = *
CW = 5
MOC = 45

© SRTurner

Family - Brassicaceae

Habit - Taprooted annual forb.

Draba_verna_scale.jpg Entire plant.

© SRTurner

Stems - Ascending to erect, single or multiple from the base (especially later in the season), to 20 cm, with forked pubescence near the base, glabrous along the inflorescence axis, scapose.

Leaves - All in a basal rosette, 1-2 cm long, sessile, spatulate to oblanceolate, the margins entire or few-toothed, glabrous or sparsely hairy on the upper surface, hairy on the undersurface, the hairs forked and often with pustular bases.

Draba_verna_basal_leaves.jpg Basal rosette of plant.

© DETenaglia

Draba_verna_leaf1.jpg Leaves, adaxial surfaces.

© SRTurner

Draba_verna_basals2.jpg Leaves, abaxial.

© SRTurner

Inflorescence - Terminal raceme, compact in flower, elongating in fruit. Pedicels 2-3 mm long in flower, to 1 cm in fruit, thin, mostly glabrous. Inflorescence axis mostly glabrous.

Draba_verna_inflorescence.jpg Inflorescence.

© SRTurner

Flowers - Sepals 4, 1.0-2.0 mm long, green with whitish-scarious margins. Petals 4, 2.0-4.5 mm long, clawed, glabrous, white, deeply 2-lobed from the tip to about the middle. Stamens 6, erect. Ovary superior, green, glabrous. Styles absent or to 0.1 mm long.

Draba_verna_corollas.jpg Corollas. The deeply split lobes are distinctive.

© SRTurner

Fruits - Ascending, flattened, 4.0-9.0 mm long, elliptoid to oblong, glabrous, many-seeded, 2-valved.

Draba_verna_fruit.jpg Fruit.

© DETenaglia

Draba_verna_fruit2.jpg Sectioned fruit (one locule) with seeds.

© SRTurner

Flowering - February - April.

Habitat - Grassy and rocky open places, lawns, fields, pastures, roadsides, cultivated fields, disturbed areas.

Origin - Native to the U.S.

Lookalikes - Draba brachycarpa, D. reptans, Holosteum umbellatum

Other info. - This tiny species is common throughout much of Missouri, particularly in the eastern half of the state. It also occurs in the eastern half and western third of the continental U.S., but is absent in much of the Great Plains. The plant is quite inconspicuous due to its diminutive stature. It is easily identified from its basal rosette of leaves, leafless stems, and divided petals.

Though far from showy, Draba verna is one of the first wildflowers to bloom in spring. The common name is derived from an old belief that the plant cured whitlow, an inflammatory disorder of horses' hooves. Draba is the largest genus in the large family Brassicaceae. Most of the greater than 100 North American species are found to the west and north.

Photographs taken at Pilot Mountain State Park, NC., 3-9-03 (DETenaglia); also at Weldon Spring Conservation Area, St. Charles County, MO, 3-29-2013 and 3-15-2016; Shaw Nature Reserve, Franklin County, MO, 3-17-2015 and 3-23-2023; and near Labadie, Franklin County, MO, 3-17-2020 (SRTurner).