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Comb Draba Draba oligosperma


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Comb Draba
credit: J.W. Stockert, National Park Service

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Alternate name: Few-seed Whitlow-grass

Family: Brassicaceae, Mustard view all from this family

Description A small, grayish, hairy, densely tufted plant with basal leaves and racemes of small yellow flowers on leafless stalks.
Habit: native perennial herb; many leafless, unbranched stems; mat-forming.
Height: to 12 in (30 cm)
Leaf: in basal rosette, silver-green, hairy, very thin, linear to oblanceolate, stalkless, 0.125-0.6 in (3-15 mm) long, to 0.1 in (2 mm) wide.
Flower: yellow to cream, 4 petals around greenish center, to 1/2 in (12 mm) wide; held in dense terminal cluster of 3-15 flowerheads.
Fruit: oval pod, flat, to 0.3 in (8 mm) long, to 0.15 in (4 mm) wide, sometimes hairy.

Flower May to July.

Habitat Well-drained locations: rock outcrops and ridges, mountain slopes, talus, gravel benches, tundra; 650-13,000 ft (200-3900 m); also cultivated ornamentally.

Range Western North America, from Alaska to California, east to Colorado, north to the Northwest Territories.

Discussion Also known as few-seeded draba, yellow flowered moss. This is one of many tufted species of Draba with yellow flowers, distinguished in part by technical characteristics of the hairs. The entire surface of this plant is covered with microscopic hairs that lie flat, each with a main axis and perpendicular branches on either side (similar to two back-to-back combs).