This adventive biennial plant is 1–2½' tall. During the first year it forms a rosette of basal leaves up to 1' across, while during the second year it bolts upward with one or more flowering stalks. These stalks are hairless, stout, light green to reddish purple, and somewhat angular. Secondary stalks are produced in the upper half of the plant. The basal leaves are up to 6" long and 2½" across. They are odd-pinnate with 1-4 pairs of lateral lobes and a terminal lobe that is larger than the others. These lobes are oval, obovate, or nearly orbicular, and they have margins that are slightly undulate or bluntly dentate. The alternate leaves are sessile or clasp the stems. The lower to middle alternate leaves resemble the basal leaves, except that they are smaller and have fewer lateral lobes. The upper alternate leaves are up to 2" long and 1" across; their margins are shallowly lobed, undulate, or bluntly dentate. Both the basal and alternate leaves are dark green, hairless, and shiny on the upper surface. The upper stems terminate in racemes of yellow flowers. The flowers bloom toward the apex of each raceme, while the seedpods (siliques) develop below. Each flower is up to 1/3" (8 mm.) across, consisting of 4 yellow petals, 4 yellowish green sepals that are linear-lanceolate, 6 stamens with pale yellow to light brown anthers, and a single pistil with a thick style. A robust plant will produce these flowers in great abundance and they are mildly fragrant. The blooming period occurs from mid-spring to early summer and lasts about 1 month (peaking during late spring). Each flower is replaced by an angular-cylindrical seedpod about ¾-1" long. The base of each seedpod is connected to a short slender pedicel, while at the other end it terminates in a short slender beak. These seedpods are ascending, rather than strictly erect, along the racemes. The seeds are ovoid, slightly flattened, and more or less brown. The root system consists of a stout taproot. This plant spreads by reseeding itself, and it occasionally forms colonies. Cultivation
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