Marsh yellowcress

August 10, 2015

Rorippa palustris L. (Bess)

Life cycle

Tap-rooted annual or biennial. Occasionally, a weak perennial.

marsh yellowcress plant
Marsh yellowcress plant.


Alternate, variably shaped leaves initially develop from a basal rosette. Leaves are deeply lobed with a large terminal lobe and three to seven other lobes. The upper stem leaves are smaller with lobed to toothed margins and, occasionally, winged petioles with earlobe-shaped bases.

marsh yellowcress rosette
Marsh yellowcress rosette.


Branched or unbranched stems arise from a basal rosette to flower, usually less than 2 feet in height.

Flowers and fruit

Small, light yellow flowers with four petals are found in terminal clusters. Fruit are small, globe- to short cylinder-shaped capsules with a slight upward curve. Each capsule contains numerous, tiny, yellowish brown seeds.

marsh yellowcress flower
Marsh yellowcress flower.



Similar weeds

Yellow fieldcress [Rorippa sylvestris (L.) Bess.] Differs by having a perennial nature with prolific, aggressive creeping roots and more deeply lobed leaves. Flowers are more conspicuous and brightly colored. Capsules are smaller and usually do not contain seeds.

yellow fieldcress rosette yellow fieldcress leaf yellow fieldcress flower
Yellow fieldcress rosette (left), leaf (middle), and flower (right).

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