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Draba smithii
(Smith's whitlowgrass)

[taxon report][distribution map][all photos][line drawing]

Family: Brassicaceae

Scientific Name: Draba smithii Gilg ex O.E. Schulz

Synonyms: None

Vernacular Name: Smith's whitlowgrass

R-E-D Code: 2-1-2

Description: Perennial; caudex multicipital; branches prostrate, slender and usually matted; basal leaves tufted, linear-oblanceolate to obovate, entire to denticulate, 0.5-1.3(-2.5) cm long; stem leaves 3-8, slightly smaller; plants including pedicels cinereous with dense short branched trichomes; flowering stems simple, 10-15 cm tall; inflorescence loose, 12-28-flowered; petals 4, white; fruiting pedicels mostly longer than the siliques, lower up to 1 cm long; siliques ovate-lanceolate, 5-9 mm long, usually contorted, finely pubescent with minute branched trichomes; styles 1-2 mm long; seeds mostly 1 mm long. Flowers June to July.

Similar Species: Draba smithii is easily recognized by its long styles (1-2 mm long), white flower petals, minute trichomes (0.05-0.2 mm long), and prostrate mats.

Distribution: New Mexico, Taos County; Colorado, Archuleta, Custer, Hinsdale, Las Animas, Mineral, and Saguache counties.

Habitat: Montane and mountain shrub zones, mostly on rocky outcrops and talus slopes, rarely along streams; 2,365-4,000 m (7,760-13,125 ft).

Remarks: Known populations are widely disjunct and its distribution is patchy. Although many areas have potential habitat, Smiths whitlowgrass is rare.

Conservation Considerations: Draba smithii usually grows in habitats that have few disturbances. However, recreational activity may be a potential problem.

Important Literature (*Illustration):

Rollins, R.C. 1993. The Cruciferae of continental North America. Stanford University Press, Stanford, California.

*Ladyman, Juanita A.R. 2004. Draba smithii Gilg ex O.E. Schulz (Smiths draba): a technical conservation assessment [Online]. USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Region. Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/r2/projects/scp/assessments/drabasmithii.pdf

Weber, W.A. and R.C. Wittman. 2001. Colorado Flora, eastern slope. Third edition. University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado.

Information Compiled By: Kenneth D. Heil, 2009

Agency Status:
Taxon USFWS State of NM USFS BLM Navajo Nation Natural Heritage NM Global Rank
Draba smithiiDraba smithii..SenS1

Photo credits in header Peniocereus greggii var. greggii © T. Todsen,
Lepidospartum burgessii © M. Howard, Argemone pleiacantha ssp. pinnatisecta © R. Sivinski
©2005 New Mexico Rare Plant Technical Council