Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Rock-cress flowers and buds

with 28 comments

Arabis petiolaris Flowers by Texas Groundsel Flowers 2546

A native plant that I don’t often encounter and that has appeared in these pages only once (when it was well past its flowering stage, at that) is Arabis petiolaris, known as rock-cress or Brazos rock-cress. Here you see the flowers and buds atop one of these ever-erect plants along FM 1431 north of Kingsland in the Texas Hill Country on April 7th. The softly appealing yellow beyond the rock-cress in this mostly downward-looking view came from some Texas groundsel, Senecio ampullaceus, that was flowering closer to the ground.

© 2015 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

April 25, 2015 at 5:35 AM

28 Responses

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  1. So pretty!


    April 25, 2015 at 5:53 AM

  2. You manage to find an infinite variety of beautiful plants. It is so pleasurable to find a photo of one in my inbox every day. I look forward to it. I even look more closely now at the bloomers around me.


    April 25, 2015 at 6:29 AM

    • There are hundreds of species of native plants in central Texas, and if we take them as few as two at a time there are hundreds of thousands of distinct combinations. There’s no way any one person is going to come close to seeing all the combinations.

      Thanks for letting me know you appreciate the pictures in your inbox. If they’ve gotten you to take closer looks at what’s around you, then they’ve served one of their purposes.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 25, 2015 at 7:20 AM

  3. beautiful photo


    April 25, 2015 at 9:50 AM

  4. Wonderful photo, Steve. This is pretty. We have Arabis lyrata, pretty rare. I find it on the dunes at Illinois Beach State Park. It is the host plant of Olympia Marblewing, likewise rare. I wonder, does your Arabis play host to a butterfly as well?


    April 25, 2015 at 10:06 AM

  5. Very nice and the color light combination in the background really allows the bloom to project.

    Steve Gingold

    April 25, 2015 at 1:29 PM

    • As a teacher I allow my voice to project, and as a photographer I allow my wildflowers to project.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 25, 2015 at 1:51 PM

  6. Lovely.

    Raewyn's Photos

    April 25, 2015 at 2:41 PM

  7. very pretty!

    Sheila Creighton

    April 25, 2015 at 2:55 PM

  8. BIG wow. lovely colors


    April 25, 2015 at 11:29 PM

  9. A member of the mustard family, so perhaps edible? Perhaps I was a bee in a former life. I look at all this beauty and query, ‘food’?


    April 26, 2015 at 5:29 AM

    • As far as I know, this member of the mustard family isn’t edible. There’s another one that’s out now called peppergrass that I occasionally munch for its tang.

      To be a bee (or have been a bee in a former life), that is the question.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 26, 2015 at 7:04 AM

  10. This little beauty is edible, both flowers and leaves, either cooked or raw. A hill country friend with a rock garden uses the plant as filler, both in the garden and in her salads. As I understand it, most of the cresses are edible (watercress, for example). The etymology of cress is interesting, too.

    When I was a kid, I had hollow plastic Easter eggs that could be opened and filled with jelly beans or whatever. I loved to take them apart and combine colors. Lavender and yellow was one of my favorite combinations, and it certainly shows well here.


    April 26, 2015 at 9:51 AM

    • I stand corrected about rock-cress being edible. Has your friend said what it tastes like?

      Speaking of correction, I’m not convinced that the Online Etymology Dictionary is correct in tracing cress back beyond Germanic to Indo-European (PIE). To my mind, the most authoritative etymologies are those in The American Heritage Dictionary, whose entry for cress at


      goes back no farther than Old English. I also looked in my copy of The Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology (taken from The Oxford English Dictionary). Like the Online Etymology Dictionary, it mentions cognates in other Germanic languages, but like the AHD doesn’t find an Indo-European predecessor.

      And like you, I thought about the associations lavender and yellow have with Easter in our culture. I wonder how far back that association goes, and whether it began as an American tradition or has roots in Europe.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 26, 2015 at 10:49 AM

  11. Love the DOF


    May 8, 2015 at 8:16 PM

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