Rorippa sylvestris (Creeping Yellow-cress)

Plant Info
Also known as:
Family:Brassicaceae (Mustard)
Life cycle:perennial
Origin:Europe, Asia
  • Weedy
Habitat:sun; wet ditches, wet meadows, along shores, cultivated fields
Bloom season:June - September
Plant height:1 to 2 feet
Wetland Indicator Status:GP: FACW 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 of stalked flowers at the end of branching stems. The yellow flowers are ¼ inch across, forming at the tip of the expanding raceme, the 4 petals rounded, spatula shaped, twice as long as the sepals, the narrowed base of the petals creating a wide gap between them. Typically two racemes branch off at the tip of the stem.

Leaves and stems: Leaf attachment: alternate Leaf attachment: basal Leaf type: compound Leaf type: lobed

[photo of leaves] Young plants form basal rosettes from underground stems. Lower leaves are oblong in outline, up to 8 inches long and ¾ inch wide, with a compound look to them, deeply divided into lobes that also have lobed or coarsely toothed edges. Upper leaves are somewhat smaller. Stems are creeping, forming dense colonies, with ascending branches, glossy or with few sparse hairs lower down.

Fruit: Fruit type: capsule/pod

[photo of fruit] Fruit is a slender green pod up to ½ inch long, angled out and somewhat up from the stalk.


Native to Europe and Asia and now widely established throughout North America, Rorippa sylvestris can be confused with the native annual Bog Yellow-cress (Rorippa palutris). Creeping Yellow-cress however is a perennial, forming dense colonies, its flowers are over twice the size of R. palustris, and its mature fruit longer and more slender. All three of our own observations and 1 of 6 herbarium records were from nursery production fields - a high risk pathway for this pesky weed.

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More photos

Photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk taken in Washington County.


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

Posted by: Gabe Miller - Goodhue Co.
on: 2018-08-31 11:31:59

I think a more detailed survey of this species should be done. I find this quite common in our open, lowland fields in early summer.

Posted by: Diane Larson - North of Duluth
on: 2020-07-01 14:53:50

Creeping yellow cress seems to be a huge problem this year in Duluth MN. We noticed it in Oneota Cemetery and along Lower Lakewood Road. It seems to have become a noxious weed.

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