Carnegiea gigantea, Giant Saguaro

Southwest Desert Flora

Home to the plants of the Sonoran, Chihuahuan and Mojave Deserts

Cirsium ochrocentrum, Yellowspine Thistle

Boechera perennans, Perennial Rockcress

Boechera perennans, Perennial Rockcress, Southwest Desert Flora Boechera perennans, Perennial Rockcress, Southwest Desert Flora Boechera perennans, Perennial Rockcress, Southwest Desert Flora Boechera perennans, Perennial Rockcress, Southwest Desert Flora

Scientific Name: Boechera perennans
Common Name: Perennial Rockcress
Also Called: Rock Cress
Family: Brassicaceae or Cruciferae, Mustard Family
Synonyms: (Arabis angulata, Arabis arcuata var. perennans, Arabis eremophila, Arabis gracilenta, Arabis perennans, Arabis recondite)
Status: Native
Duration: Perennial
Size: Up to 20 inches.
Growth Form: Forb/herb, subshrub; erect, single stem or few branches, stems glabrous or pubescent.
Leaves: Green, gray-green; basal, petioled, oblanceolate, dentate, with dense hairs; stems leaves sessile, smaller, a little over an inch long, higher stem leaves clasping.
Flower Color: Purple or pinkish; 4 petals, 4 sepals, several individual flowers on long slender stalks, fruit is a long, about 2 inches, capsule, technically a silique.
Flowering Season: September to October, April to July in California.
Elevation: 2,000 to 8,000 feet.

Habitat Preferences: A relatively higher elevation species, found along rocky hillsides and canyons; in California along canyon walls, calcareous rocks, gravelly slopes and pinyon/juniper woodland.

Recorded Range: Perennial Rockcress is native to southwest United States and Mexico.

North America & US County Distribution Map for Boechera perennans.

U.S. Weed Information: Boechera perennans is listed in: Weeds of Kentucky and adjacent states: a field guide, Weeds of the Northeast, Weeds of Nebraska and the Great Plains, Weeds of the United States and Canada, and Weeds of the West. Plants included here may become weedy or invasive.

Invasive/Noxious Weed Information: No data available.
Wetland Indicator: No data available.
Threatened/Endangered Information: No data available.

Genus Information: Plants/ treats Boechera a synonym of the genus Arabis. 27 species in Arabis. 12 species in Arizona.

Comments: As with many members of the mustard family, Perennial Rockcress is an early spring bloomer, one of the earliest to bloom in Arizona. Seldom observed in large numbers, it is always a pleasure to encounter this delightful species whose flowers are small but beautiful under a 10X hand-lens.

Perennial Rockcress, Boechera perennans, is often classified in the genus Arabis. However it has been re-assigned to the genus Boechera based on genetic information which shows major differences between Old- and New-World species. Thus, with the new genetic information most of the Old World members remain as Arabis and New World members re-classified as Boechera.

Several ethno-botanical uses have been identified for Perennial Rockcress including its use as for hiccoughs caused by a dry throat and a cold infusion was taken and used as a lotion for general body pain. See species account from Native American Ethnobotany, University of Michigan, Dearborn.

Date Profile Completed: 11/6/2014, 07/21/2015, updated format 10/11/2017
U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service on-line database – ITIS search
Arizona Flora, Kearney, Thomas H., Peebles, Robert H., 1960, University of California Press, Berkley and Los Angeles as Arabis perennans.
Ihsan A. Al-Shehbaz, Michael D. Windham, FNA | Family List | FNA Vol. 7 | Brassicaceae | Boechera, FNA Vol. 7 Page 359, 360, 366, 375, 377, 381, 383, 394, 396, 398, 411, 412, Flora of North America Editorial Committee, eds. 1993+. Flora of North America North of Mexico. 16+ vols. New York and Oxford. (accessed 11/5/2014).
1993, The Jepson Manual, Citation: ttp:// (accessed 11/5/2014).
Wikipedia contributors, 'Arabis', Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 22 September 2014, 15:09 UTC, [accessed 6 November 2014]
Wikipedia contributors, 'Boechera perennans', Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 16 November 2013, 15:51 UTC, [accessed 6 November 2014]
SEINet for synonyms, scientific names and recorded geographic locations,