Barbarea vulgaris Ait. f.   (redirected from: Barbarea vulgaris var. sylvestris)
Family: Brassicaceae
[Barbarea arcuata Rchb.,  more]
Barbarea vulgaris image
Biennials or, rarely, perennials; glabrous throughout or margins ciliate. Stems (1.5-)2-9(-12) dm. Basal leaves: petiole (0.5-)2-10(-17) cm; blade lyrate-pinnatifid, (1-)2-8(-10) cm, lobes 1-3(-5) on each side (rarely early ones undivided), lateral lobes oblong or ovate, 0.3-2(-4) cm × 1-8(-15) mm, sometimes slightly fleshy, margins entire, repand, crenate, or dentate, terminal lobe (ovate or suborbicular), (0.7-)1.5-4.5(-7) cm × (4-)10-30(-50) mm, (surfaces glabrous or margins ciliate). Cauline leaves: blade ovate or suborbicular (undivided), margins usually coarsely dentate, rarely subentire; conspicuously auriculate, auricles ovate or narrowly oblong (to 10 × 5 mm), glabrous. Fruiting pedicels divaricate to ascending or erect, 3-7 mm, terete or subquadrangular, thickened (narrower than fruit). Flowers: sepals 3-4.5(-5) × 1-1.5 mm, lateral pair slightly saccate basally, margins scarious; petals yellow, spatulate or oblanceolate, (5-)6-9(-10) × 1.5-2.5(-3.5) mm, base attenuate, apex rounded; filaments 3-4.5 mm; anthers 0.7-1.2 mm; ovules 18-24(-28) per ovary; gynophore to 0.5 mm. Fruits erect to erect-ascending, rarely appressed to rachis, torulose, terete, somewhat compressed, or 4-angled, (0.7-)1.5-3 cm × 1.2-2 mm; style slender, (1-)1.5-3(-3.5) mm. Seeds dark brown, plump, broadly ovoid to oblong or subglobose, 1.2-1.5 × 1-1.2 mm. 2n = 16. Flowering Apr-Jul. Waste places, ditches, riverbanks, damp grasslands, roadsides, fields, disturbed sites; 0-3000 m; introduced; Alta., B.C., Man., N.B., Nfld. and Labr., N.S., Ont., P.E.I., Que., Sask.; Ala., Alaska, Ark., Calif., Colo., Conn., Ga., Idaho, Ill., Ind., Iowa, Kans., Ky., Maine, Md., Mass., Mich., Minn., Mo., Mont., Nebr., N.H., N.J., N.Mex., N.Y., N.C., Ohio, Okla., Oreg., Pa., R.I., S.Dak., Tenn., Utah, Vt., Va., Wash., W.Va., Wis., Wyo.; Europe; Asia; n Africa. Barbarea vulgaris, which is sometimes grown as a potherb, is highly variable in length and orientation of fruit and fruiting pedicel, style length, and the division of cauline leaves. Several varieties have been recognized, and they represent some of the many points along one continuum. In my opinion, it is better not to recognize any infraspecific taxa in North America.

Biennial or short-lived perennial herb 20 cm - 0.8 m tall Stem: upright, branched above. Flowers: in crowded, branched clusters, bright yellow, 6 - 8 mm long, 2 - 3 mm wide. Petals four. Stamens six. Fruit: a narrow pod, ascending or spreading, 1.5 - 4 cm long, rounded in cross-section, curved, with a 2 - 3 mm long beak. Attached to a 3 - 6 mm long, 0.5 mm wide stalk. Seeds in one row. Basal leaves: stalked, dark green, 5 - 12.5 cm long, with one to four pairs of small lobes and a large terminal one. Lateral lobes elliptic to egg-shaped. Terminal lobe egg-shaped to rounded. Stem leaves: alternate, stalkless, somewhat clasping the stem, dark green, 5 - 12.5 cm long (progressively reducing in size), pinnately lobed to toothed.

Similar species: The variety vulgaris is very similar but its pods are strongly appressed to the stem. Barbarea verna differs by having four to ten pairs of lobes on its basal leaves and longer pods (4.5 - 7 cm).

Flowering: mid-April to mid-July

Habitat and ecology: Introduced from Europe. An abundant weed growing in a variety of habitats, such as moist fields, roadsides, and waste places.

Occurence in the Chicago region: non-native

Notes: This weed of the spring season is often mistaken for a Brassica, which blooms later.

Etymology: Barbarea refers to St. Barbara, a patron saint of artillerymen and miners. Vulgaris means common.

Author: The Morton Arboretum

Barbarea vulgaris image
Barbarea vulgaris image
Barbarea vulgaris image
Patrick Alexander  
Barbarea vulgaris image
Patrick Alexander  
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