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Wallflower Phoenicaulis Phoenicaulis cheiranthoides


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Wallflower Phoenicaulis
credit: Walter Siegmund/CCSA

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Alternate name: False Daggerpod

Family: Brassicaceae, Mustard view all from this family

Description Smooth, unbranched, sometimes prostrate stems rise or spread from tuft of grayish basal leaves and end in dense racemes of pink or purplish flowers.
Habit: native perennial herb.
Height: 3-12 in (7.5-30 cm)
Leaf: at base, gray-green, fuzzy, upright, lanceolate to obovate, 4-10 in (10-25 cm) long including stalk, 0.3-1 in (8-25 mm) wide; on stem, fewer, smaller, narrower.
Flower: pale pink to violet (rarely white), 4-parted, 0.5-1.2 in (12-30 mm) wide; narrow bell-shaped when closed, 0.3-0.7 in (8-18 mm) tall; held in dense round terminal cluster.
Fruit: long, narrow, flat, lance-shaped pod, 0.5-3 in (12-75 mm) long; held protruding out from stem; rather hard when dry.

Flower April to June, one of the first plants to bloom in the spring.

Habitat Clay or rocky volcanic soils in open, sunny locations; sagebrush, ponderosa pine woods, rocky scree, rocky basaltic slopes, volcanic rubble, barren clay slopes, rimrocks, scablands, metamorphic rock outcrops, rocky crevices, open knolls, sandy banks, gravelly meadows, grassy or gravelly hillsides, sagebrush scrub and slopes, alpine slopes, volcanic boulders; 2300-9200 ft (700-2800 m).

Range Western U.S., from central Washington (east of the Cascades) south to northern California, northern Nevada, and southern Idaho.

Discussion Also known as daggerpod. This is the only species in this genus. When the pods dry, the entire flowering stem breaks at the base and is tumbled away by the wind.