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Whitlow Grass (Draba verna) Flowers and fruit

It is April in Wisconsin and many of us are anxious for spring. We need not wait for daffodils to signal the end of winter for there are flowers in bloom if one looks closely. Many of our trees and shrubs have flowered including the willows, elms, maples, alders, poplars and hazelnuts. Rock jasmine (Androsace occidentalis, econotes April, 2004), snow trilliums (Trillium nivale), and Hepatica (Anemone acutiloba) are also in flower. The featured flowers are Eurasian species that were in flower in Brown County the week of April 10th.

Draba verna, sometimes called Whitlow-grass, is a member of the Brassicaceae family. While not uncommon, It is often overlooked because of its diminutive size and early flowering time. Draba is an annual introduced from Europe now naturalized throughout most of North America. In Wisconsin, it flowers in early to mid-April, sometimes setting fruit by the second week in April. Look for it on sunny unproductive sites, including disturbed roadsides, lawns, and fields, where it has little competition from other plants.

Ranunculus testiculatus, or bur buttercup, is a member of the Ranunculaceae family. It is from Eurasia and is quite common in western and central plain states of the U.S where it is rapidly spreading in arid and semiarid conditions. Occasionally it is also found in Wisconsin where it flowers in April. The epithet, testiculatus, comes from the appearance of the individual achene (seed).

Contributed by UWGB graduate student Kathy Groves

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Last updated on April 15, 2014