Carnegiea gigantea, Giant Saguaro

Southwest Desert Flora

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

Cirsium ochrocentrum, Yellowspine Thistle

Caulanthus lasiophyllus, California Mustard

California Mustard has white, creamy or yellow flowers on unbranched racemes. Caulanthus lasiophyllus California Mustard flowers bloom from March to May or June. The fruits are technically a “silique” which may hang downward from the stem or erect or ascending. Note in the photo the silique fruits are beginning to mature. Caulanthus lasiophyllus California Mustard: shown is a close-up of the fruit which is called a “silique”. Caulanthus lasiophyllus California Mustard has both basal and stem leaves. The lower basal leaves soon wither. The leaves are lanceolate to oblong or oblanceolate.  Caulanthus lasiophyllus

Scientific Name: Caulanthus lasiophyllus
Common Name: California Mustard

Also Called: Coast Range Wild Cabbage, Coast Wild Cabbage, Hairyleaf Wildcabbage, Slenderpod Jewelflower

Family: Brassicaceae, Mustard Family

Synonyms: (Caulanthus lasiophyllus, Caulanthus lasiophyllus var. rigidus, Caulanthus lasiophyllus var. utahensis, Caulanthus stenocarpus, Thelypodium lasiophyllum, Thelypodium lasiophyllum var. inalienum, Thelypodium lasiophyllum var. rigidum , Thelypodium lasiophyllum var. utahense, Thelypodium rigidum Greene, Thelypodium utahense)

Status: Native

Duration: Annual

Size: 7 to 39 inches (17-100 cm) and larger.

Growth Form: Forb/herb; thin stems erect, without branches or branches toward the top (distally); plants sparsely to densely stiff-hairy (hispid);

Leaves: Green; lower leaves (basal) soon wither and upper stem leaves (cauline) with small stalks (petiolate); blades lanceolate to oblong or oblanceolate, leaves generally with long lobes (pinnately lobed) and toothed (dentate) leaves surrounding the base of the plant and smaller leaves lining the stem.

Flower Color: White, creamy or yellow; flowers on an unbranched raceme; erect green sepals, petals white to creamy white, possibly pink; fruits a flat, long and narrow silique up to 7 cm long generally hanging downward from the stem, however fruits may also be erect or ascending; seeds yellowish or brownish, oblong.

Flowering Season: March to May or June.

Elevation: Sea level to 8,500 feet (2,600 m) feet.

Habitat Preferences: Dry, open areas, particularly disturbed areas, desert flats, sandy banks, hillsides, gravelly or rocky areas, ravines, limestone rocks, rock debris at base of cliffs (talus slopes); shrublands and grassy fields.

Recorded Range: California Mustard is found in the southwestern United States and WA and OR; into British Columbia and south to northwestern Mexico and Baja California, Sonora.

North America & US County Distribution Map for Caulanthus lasiophyllus as: Guillenia lasiophylla.

U.S. Weed Information: No information available.
Invasive/Noxious Weed Information: No information available.
Wetland Indicator: No information available.

Threatened/Endangered Information: In North America Slender-Pod Jewelflower is listed by the State of California as Endangered as Caulanthus stenocarpus. Note: As there is extreme variation in this species, Caulanthus stenocarpus is possibly another species of Jewelflower and not a synonym.

Genus Information: In North America there are 14 species for Caulanthus. Worldwide, The Plant List includes 13 accepted species names and a further 8 scientific names of infraspecific rank for the genus.

The genus Caulanthus was published by by Sereno Watson in 1871.

In the Southwestern United States: Arizona has 1 species of Caulanthus, California has 14 species, Nevada has 6 species, New Mexico has 0 species, Texas has 0 species, Utah has 4 species. All data approximate and subject to revision.

Comments: California Mustard has a lot of variation in key characteristics in plant height, flower size, reproductive parts, leaf morphology, hair density and fruit.

Importance to Wildlife, Birds and Livestock
Although seeds of Caulanthus lasiophyllus are small, they may be eaten by ground foraging birds and small mammals.

Special Value to Native Bees, Butterflies and Insects
Caulanthus lasiophyllus flowers may be visited by bees and other small insects.

The genus Caulanthus (Caulan'thus:) stems from the Greek "kaulos" meaning stem and "anthos" meaning flower which alluds to cauliflower as some sub-species can be used like it. The genus Calanthus was published by by Sereno Watson in 1871.

The species epithet "lasiophyllus" (lasiophyl'la/lasiophyl'lus:) means woolly-leaved.


Date Profile Completed: 03/16/2020
U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service on-line database and USGS ITIS search - (accessed 03/05/2020)
The Plant List (2013). Version 1.1. Published on the Internet; (accessed 03/14/2020).
Ihsan A. Al-Shehbaz, FNA | Family List | FNA Vol. 7 | Brassicaceae | Caulanthus; 13. Caulanthus lasiophyllus (Hooker & Arnott) Payson, Ann. Missouri Bot. Gard. 9: 303. 1923. Flora of North America North of Mexico. 16+ vols. New York and Oxford.
Ihsan A. Al-Shehbaz 2012, Caulanthus lasiophyllus, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora, /eflora/eflora_display.php?tid=18404, accessed on March 14, 2020.
Jepson 1993, Wiggins 1964; Editors; S. Buckley, 2010Wiggins 1964, Kearney and Peebles 1969, Welsh et al. 2003, Allred and Ivey 2012, Kelley et al 2014 (Jepson); from SEINet Field Guide, on-line; - (accessed 03/14/2020).
Wikipedia contributors, 'Guillenia lasiophylla', Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 21 March 2018, 06:46 UTC; [accessed 15 March 2020]
Reed C. Rollins; Jepson Online Interchange, eFlora Treatment; (accessed 03/15/2020)
SEINet synonyms, scientific names, geographic locations, general information.
Etymology:Michael L. Charters California Plant Names: Latin and Greek Meanings and Derivations; A Dictionary of Botanical and Biographical Etymology - (accessed 03/16/2020)