Alyssum desertorum (Desert Madwort) - photos and description




Looking straight down on plant.

Looking straight down on plant.


Leaves linear-oblong, alternate.

Leaves have stellate hairs.



General: Small plants with a decumbent to ascending growth habit. Plants are single-stemmed to having as many as 6 stems from the crown. Foliage stellate pubescent. Plants elongate as they flower. One of the earliest flowering plants in spring.

Flowers: Inflorescence is a crowded raceme of small yellow flowers. We measured the inflorescence at 9 mm diameter and 6 mm long, and we measured a single flower at 2 mm diameter and 3 mm long.

Leaves: Leaves all cauline, alternate, linear-oblong, alternate. We measured a leaf at 9 mm long by 2 mm wide.

Fruit: Flattened on the margins, rounded outward at the centre. We measured fruit at 3.5 mm diameter. Fruit glabrous.

Height: Listed in Flora of Alberta to 25 cm, we measured plants to only 7 cm tall (when they were first beginning to flower, plants elongate as they go to seed).

Habitat: Sandy waste areas, pastures, weedy grassland.

Abundance: Fairly common.

Origin: Introduced.

When and where photographed: Photographed these plants April 12th, April 18th, gravelled walking path, Buffalo Pound Provincial Park, about 65 km west of Regina, SK, and in fruit on June 3rd, grassy, steep hillside, Cypress Hills, about 425 km west of our home in Regina, Saskatchewan.