Overview

Comprehensive Description

Description

This native plant is a biennial that consists of a rosette of basal leaves during the first year. The basal leaves are up to 6" long and 2" across; they are oblanceolate or obovate, dentate along the margins, and hairy underneath. Each basal leaf tapers to a petiole-like base that is long and slender, while its tip is acute to blunt. During the second year, one or more stems with alternate cauline leaves develop from the center of the rosette, which withers away. Upon reaching maturity, Toothed Rock Cress is 1½–3' tall. The erect to ascending stems are light green, finely pubescent, terete, and sparingly branched. The cauline leaves are up to 4" long and 1½" across; they are oblanceolate to obovate and dentate along their margins. The upper surface of each cauline leaf is sparingly covered with fine hairs or hairless, while the lower surface is conspicuously hairy. Each cauline leaf clasps the stem with a pair of basal lobes (it is auriculate). The upper stems terminate in floral racemes up to 1' long. Each flower is about 1/8" across, consisting of 4 sepals, 4 petals, an ovary with a short style, and several stamens with pale yellow or white anthers. The petals are white and oblanceolate; they barely extend beyond the sepals. The sepals are lanceolate-oblong, light green to reddish green, and finely hairy. The pedicel of each flower is short, stout, and conspicuously hairy. The blooming period occurs during the late spring or early summer and lasts about a month. Each flower is replaced by a slender cylindrical silique about ¾–1½" long that contains a single row of seeds. The siliques are ascending to spreading along the central stalk of the raceme; they can be curved or straight, but don't droop conspicuously. The outer surface of each silique is light green to reddish purple and glabrous or finely pubescent (usually the latter). The seeds are quite small (about 1 mm. long), oblongoid, and somewhat flattened; they lack winged margins. The root system consists of a taproot. This plant spreads by reseeding itself.
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Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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Distribution

National Distribution

Canada

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

United States

Origin: Unknown/Undetermined

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Unknown/Undetermined

Confidence: Confident

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Global Range: TN (historical), KY, and AL (questionable id). Records for MI, VA, and WV are presumably A. shortii, not A. perstellata sensu stricto.

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Ecology

Associations

Faunal Associations

The small flowers attract various bees, Syrphid flies, Dance flies (Empis spp.), and miscellaneous other insects. The bee visitors include cuckoo bees (Nomada spp.), Halictid bees, Andrenid bees, and little carpenter bees (Ceratina spp.). The bees suck nectar or collect pollen, while the flies suck nectar or feed on pollen. Some flea beetles (e.g., Phyllotreta conjuncta and Phyllotreta punctulata) feed on Arabis spp. (Rock Cresses).
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Flower-Visiting Insects of Toothed Rock Cress in Illinois

Arabis shortii (Toothed Rock Cress)
(Bees suck nectar or collect pollen; flies suck nectar or feed on pollen; other insects suck nectar; observations are from Robertson)

Bees (long-tongued)
Apidae (Apinae): Apis mellifera sn cp fq; Apidae (Bombini): Bombus griseocallis sn, Bombus impatiens sn; Anthophoridae (Ceratinini): Ceratina calcarata sn, Ceratina dupla dupla sn; Anthophoridae (Eucerini): Synhalonia belfragii sn; Anthophoridae (Nomadini): Nomada cuneatus sn, Nomada hydrophylli sn, Nomada luteola sn, Nomada ovatus sn; Megachilidae (Osmiini): Osmia atriventris sn, Osmia pumila sn

Bees (short-tongued)
Halictidae (Halictinae): Agapostemon sericea sn, Augochlora purus sn fq, Augochlorella aurata sn cp, Augochlorella striata sn, Augochloropsis metallica metallica sn fq, Augochloropsis sumptuosa sn, Halictus confusus sn cp, Halictus rubicunda sn, Lasioglossum coriaceus sn, Lasioglossum foxii sn cp fq, Lasioglossum imitatus sn cp, Lasioglossum macoupinensis sn, Lasioglossum obscurus sn, Lasioglossum pectoralis sn cp, Lasioglossum tegularis sn cp, Lasioglossum versatus sn fq, Lasioglossum zephyrus sn; Halictidae (Sphecodini): Sphecodes ranunculi sn; Colletidae (Hylaeninae): Hylaeus modestus modestus sn; Andrenidae (Andreninae): Andrena carlini sn, Andrena cressonii sn cp fq, Andrena geranii sn, Andrena miserabilis bipunctata sn, Andrena nasonii sn cp, Andrena personata sn fq

Wasps
Sapygidae: Sapyga centrata; Vespidae (Eumeninae): Euodynerus foraminatus

Flies
Syrphidae: Eupeodes americanus fp, Syrphus ribesii fp, Syrphus torvus sn, Toxomerus geminatus sn; Empididae: Empis nuda sn, Empis pudica sn; Bombyliidae: Bombylius major sn; Tachinidae: Siphona geniculata sn

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Conservation

Conservation Status

National NatureServe Conservation Status

Canada

Rounded National Status Rank: N2 - Imperiled

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: NNR - Unranked

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: G5 - Secure

Reasons: Very small geographic range, fewer than 1000 individuals.

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Threats

Comments: Road construction, logging, erosion and other impacts resulting from development.

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Management

Biological Research Needs: Definitive study on taxonomic status.

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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Cultivation

This plant is typically found in dappled sunlight to medium shade, moist conditions, and either fertile loamy soil or thin rocky soil with decaying organic matter. Range & Habitat
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Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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Names and Taxonomy

Taxonomy

Comments: Has also been treated as Arabis perstellata var. shortii, but recent works generally accept at species level as A. shortii. Al-Shehbaz and Zarucchi (2008) argue that the correct name for this taxon is Boechera dentata.

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