Barbarea orthoceras

From Puget Prairie Plants
  • Scientific Name: Barbarea orthoceras
  • Family: Brassicaceae
  • Common Names: American wintercress rocket, yellow rocket
  • Synonyms/Misapplications: Barbarea americana, Barbarea stricta, Campe orthoceras
  • Codon: BARORT

Photo: Rod Gilbert, 2006. Also featured on Main Page


Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Subkingdom: Viridiplantae
Phylum: Tracheophyta
Subphylum: Spermatophytina
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Brassicales
Family: Brassicaceae
Genus: Barbarea W. T. Aiton
Species: Barbarea orthoceras Ledeb.
  • B. americana Rydb.
  • B. orthoceras var. dolichocarpa Fernald



Erect, mostly glabrous biennial herb growing from a taproot with yellow racemes, to 6 dm tall.[2] Basal and cauline leaves lyrate-pinnatifid, lobes 1-4 on each side,[3] margins entire to crenate.[2] Cauline leaves alternate, auriculate-clasping.[3] Racemes ebractate.[4] Flowers bi-radially symmetrical, 4-merous; stamens 6, tetradynamous;[5] ovary superior, 2-carpellate, becoming linear, 1-nerved,[4] 4-angled siliques, 1.5-5 cm long.[5]

Bloom Period



Throughout Washington. From Alaska to California and across northern North America.[5]


Lower elevation meadows, stream banks and forests.[5]Hardy to zone 0,[6] preferring moist, well-drained soil.[7]


First Nations use rosettes of the dark green shiny leaves can be cooked or eaten raw in a salad.[8]


Sow seeds in situ in early spring to early summer.Succeeds in sun or shade in a moist well-drained soil. [9]


Barbarea orthoceras, photo by Lisa Hintz
Barbarea orthoceras, photo by Lisa Hintz

Seed sample from: 2011

Average Measurement: 1.6 x 1.1 x 0.8

Measurement Range: L: 1.4 - 1.9, W: 1 - 1.3, D: 0.7 - 1

Color: Hilum reddish and pinched looking. Seed is brownish red.

Surface:Some concave pitting on seed surface. Entire seed is covered with a net veined pattern giving it a scaly appearance. Seed is shiny.

Latitudinal Cross Section: elliptical BAORlat.png

Longitudinal Cross Section: elliptical BAORlong.png

Basic Explanations and Assumptions:

The dimensions for the seeds are length x width x depth. The location of the hilum is used as the base of the seed, and the length is measured from hilum to the opposite apex. Where a style is present, the length is measured from the hilum to the bottom of the style. Width is measured at a right angle to the length at the widest part. Depth is measured at a right angle to the intersection of height and width lines.

Measurements included are the mean average for each measurement of ten separate seeds.

All measurements in millimeters unless otherwise noted.

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  1. Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Retrieved from
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 WTU Herbarium, Burke Museum, & University of Washington. Retrieved from
  3. 3.0 3.1 Flora of North America. Retrieved from
  4. 4.0 4.1 Hitchcock, C. L., Cronquist, A., Giblin, D., & Legler, B. et al. (2018). Flora of the Pacific Northwest: an illustrated manual. Seattle: University of Washington Press. p. 284.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 WTU Herbarium, Burke Museum, & University of Washington. Retrieved from
  6. USDA Plants Database. Retrieved from
  7. Plants for a Future. Retrieved from
  8. Native American Ethnobotany Database. Retrieved from
  9. Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. (1992). MacMillan Press.