This plant is quite showy while it is in full bloom. The basal leaves are reportedly edible during the early spring, but they later become bitter. The Yellow Rocket that commonly occurs in Illinois is Barbarea vulgaris arcuata. The typical variety of Yellow Rocket is rarely seen in Illinois; it differs from var. arcuata by having erect seedpods (siliques). A species with a similar appearance, Barbarea verna (Early Winter Cress), occurs further to the east and is rarely observed in Illinois. It differs from Yellow Rocket in having basal leaves with 4-7 pairs of lateral lobes, while its alternate leaves are more often pinnatifid. The seedpods of Early Winter Cress are longer than those of Yellow Rocket (at least 1¼" in length) and the pedicels of its flowers are more stout.
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