Rorippa palustris (Bog Yellow-cress)

Plant Info
Also known as: Marsh Yellow Cress
Family:Brassicaceae (Mustard)
Life cycle:annual, short-lived perennial
Habitat:part shade, sun; wet ditches, wet meadows, along shores, swamps, mud flats
Bloom season:May - September
Plant height:12 to 40 inches
Wetland Indicator Status:GP: OBL MW: OBL NCNE: OBL
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

[photo of flowers] Elongating clusters at the end of branching stems and arising from the leaf axils, with a small compact flower head at the tip and fruit developing below it. Flowers are about 1/8 inch across with 4 nearly indistinct spatula-shaped petals alternating with 4 yellowish green oblong sepals that are about as long as the petals. 6 yellow stamens and a stout style are in the center

Leaves and stems: Leaf attachment: alternate Leaf type: lobed Leaf type: simple

[photo of leaves] Leaves are somewhat variable, 3 to 7 inches long, oblong or egg- to lance-shaped, coarsely toothed and may be hairy on the underside. Basal leaves are stalked, basal and lower leaves usually with a few to several deep, narrow lobes and a large lobe at the tip end. Stem leaves become smaller, unlobed with little or no stalk in the upper plant. Stems are green or tinged red and may be hairy, depending on the variety.

Fruit: Fruit type: capsule/pod

[photo of fruit] Fruit is a cylindrical pod about 1/3 inch long, bulging slightly with the developing seed, and the remains of the style persisting at the tip. The stalks are held straight out, with the pod usually angled up slightly.


There are 2 subspecies of Bog Yellow-cress found in Minnesota: subsp. hispida, with leaves that are hairy on the underside as well as a hairy stem, and subsp. palustris, which is smooth throughout. While the flowers are similar to some Descurainia (tansy mustard) species, the shape of the leaves and fruits are different enough to distinguish them from Bog Yellow-cress.

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More photos

Photos by K. Chayka taken in Ramsey County. Photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk taken in Anoka County.


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

Posted by: Gary - Cook County
on: 2019-11-14 15:00:24

In an old beaver meadow near the edge of what was left of the pond.

Posted by: Pat - Eden Prairie
on: 2020-06-26 19:30:12

I had some of this pop up in one of my gardens this year.

Posted by: Donna - Hibbing
on: 2020-07-23 11:13:22

I had a few of these pop up in my garden!

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