Hairy Rockcress - Arabis hirsuta

Scientific Name: Arabis hirsuta. Hirsuta = 'hairy'.

English Name: Hairy Rockcress

French Name: L'Arabette hérissée. Hérissée = 'bristly' (as in the French for hedgehog, which is hérisson).

5 Key Characters:
  • you guessed it - it's hairy!
  • basal rosette of elongated oval - hairy! - leaves.
  • leaves up flower stem are stalkless and sit close to the stem.
  • many small (3 -4 mm) white flowers up a long erect stem.
  • long (15 - 50 mm) narrow (1.5 mm) erect seedpods (technically fruits).
Lookalikes: other Arabis spp, including much larger flowered garden escapees.

Habitat: Calcareous grasslands and rocks.

Flowering Period: May-June-July-August.

Status: Locally common (ie does not occur on many sites, but where it does it is common.) On the northern edge of its natural range, but has been introduced further north. It is an important food plant for Orange Tip Anthocharis cardamines butterfly caterpillars.

Photographed by Loire Valley Nature:

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