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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):

*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

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

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 smithiiSOCSOCSen..S1G2


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