Tiny Flowers: Spring Whitlow-mustard

Photo of Spring Whitlow-mustard

Last week, I noticed my first flowering non-woody plants of the year. They'd no doubt been blooming for days, for when I looked around I noticed hundreds of these tiny beings already producing seed pods. The plant is called Spring Whitlow-mustard (Draba verna), and is so small -- the plant pictured here is 2" tall, with flowers less than 1/4" wide -- that most humans passing by a patch never get to enjoy them. For me, spring wouldn't be spring without them.

A magnified look at the flowers reveals 4 hairy sepals, 4 white petals (deeply divided and thus appearing as 8) and 4 long and 2 short stamens surrounding a single pistil. This flower formula makes this plant a member of the Mustard (Brassicaceae) family which includes many tasty wild edibles like Wild Radish, Garden Yellow-rocket, American Sea-rocket and Garlic-mustard.

Photo of Spring Whitlow-mustard flowers

2 thoughts on “Tiny Flowers: Spring Whitlow-mustard”

  1. Oh, how pretty! I must be one of those humans that pass them by without seeing them. Where should I be looking?

    1. Check open areas with exposed soils, like roadsides, gardens, and lawns with spotty turf. Go Botany has some additional photos and info that might be useful to your search. Oh, and remember, they are very short. Good luck!

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