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Short's Rock-cress (Arabis shortii)


Life history

Species overview

Short's Rock-cress (Arabis shortii), a State Special Concern plant, is found in mesic alluvial floodplain forests, on very steep, usually cool slopes in southern mesic forests and moist sandstone cliffs. It is often found in areas with little competition such as moss-covered cliffs, boulders, or bases of large trees, or in areas with exposed soils like steep, eroding forested slopes or areas adjacent to trails. Blooming occurs throughout May; fruiting occurs throughout June. The optimal identification period for this species is early May through early June.

Synonyms: Boechera dentata, Arabis dentata, Arabis dentata var. phalacrocarpa, Arabis perstellata var. phalacrocarpa, Arabis perstellata var. shortii, Arabis shortii var. phalacrocarpa, Iodanthus dentatus, Sisymbrium dentatum

Identification

  • Distinguishing characteristics: Distinguished from Arabis hirsuta, which has petals 3 to 9 mm in length, fruits erect, and stem hirsute at least near the base.
  • Flower characteristics: White petals 2 to 3 mm long barely emerging from the sepals, well separated in a terminal raceme.
  • Fruit characteristics: Elongate slender pods 1.5 to 3 cm x 1mm, sparsely covered with hairs that are widely spreading and borne at approximately right angles to the stem; seeds wingless and develop in one row.
  • Leaf characteristics: Sharply toothed, roughly oblong shaped and 2 to 5 cm long with bases clasping the stem; surfaces covered with small hairs, those on the underside being star shaped (stellate).

Phenology

  • Blooming phenology: throughout May
  • Fruiting phenology: throughout June
  • Optimum time to identify: early May through early June

Other

  • Growth form: Forb-erect
  • Vegetative reproduction:
  • Life cycle: Biennial (may be perennial)
  • Comments: Associated Species: Acer saccharinum, Ulmus americana, Celtis occidentalis, Arisaema dracontium, Fraxinus pennsylvanica, Quercus rubra, Acer saccharum, Tilia americana, Impatiens capensis, Saxifraga pensylvanica.

State status

Status and Natural Heritage Inventory documented occurrences in Wisconsin

The table below provides information about the protected status - state and federal - and the rank (S and G Ranks) for Short's Rock-cress (Arabis shortii). See the Working List Key for more information about abbreviations. Counties shaded blue have documented occurrences for this species in the Wisconsin Natural Heritage Inventory database. The map is provided as a general reference of where this species has been found to date and is not meant as a range map.


Documented locations of Arabis shortii in the Natural Heritage Inventory Database as of March 2012.

Summary Information
State StatusSC
Federal Status in Wisconsinnone
State RankS1S2
Global RankG5
Tracked by NHIY

Habitats and landscapes

The Natural Heritage Inventory has developed scores indicating the degree to which each of Wisconsin's rare plant species is associated with a particular natural community or ecological landscape. This information is similar to that found in the Wildlife Action Plan for animals. As this is a work in progress, we welcome your suggestions and feedback.

General habitat information

  • Habitat description: Found in mesic alluvial floodplain forests, on very steep, usually cool slopes in southern mesic forests and moist sandstone cliffs. It is often found in areas with little competition such as moss-covered cliffs, boulders, or bases of large trees, or in areas with exposed soils like steep, eroding forested slopes or areas adjacent to trails.
  • Soils: Rich, moist soils.

Natural communities

This table lists the natural communities that are associated with Short's Rock-cress. Scores for natural community associations are: "significant" association (score=3), "moderate association" (score=2) or the species can be present but is only weakly associated with the community (score=1).

Ecological landscapes

This table lists the ecological landscape association scores for Short's Rock-cress. The scores (3=High, 2=Moderate, 1=Low, 0=None) also correspond to the map.

Map of the Ecological Landscapes of Wisconsin.

Species guidance

The Endangered Resources Program has developed avoidance measures and management guidelines for plants on the Natural Heritage Working List. These are a work in progress, and we welcome your suggestions and feedback. Sources used in developing this information can be found here.

Avoidance measures

These are specific actions designed to avoid "take" (mortality) of this species.

  • Avoid known individual plant locations and conduct operations elsewhere when they are least likely to cause damage. Ideally, this would involve frozen, snow-covered ground. However, in areas of the state where frozen conditions are unreliable, very dry soils late in the growing season might be the best available alternative. Consult with a biologist, if needed.
  • Avoid broadcast spraying of herbicides; use care with spot spraying.
  • Avoid direct disturbance to sensitive microsites such as seeps, cliffs, and moss-covered boulders.

Management guidance

Management guidelines are additional considerations that may help maintain or enhance habitat for this species

  • Buffer management around unique microhabitats such as ephemeral ponds, seeps, etc.
  • Follow BMPs, especially around streams and use care near ravines, steep slopes, cliffs, rock outcrops, etc.

Photos


Short's Rock-cress  [Photo #24329]

Arabis shortii

Photo © Kevin Doyle.

Short's Rock-cress  [Photo #22546]

Arabis shortii can be distinguished from other members of the genus, in part, by its very short petals, auriculate leaves, and pubescent stems.

Photo by Ryan O'Connor, WDNR.

Short's Rock-cress  [Photo #24509]

Photo © Kevin Doyle.

Short's Rock-cress  [Photo #24510]

Photo © Kevin Doyle.

Short's Rock-cress  [Photo #24511]

Photo © Kevin Doyle.

Short's Rock-cress  [Photo #2311]

Photo © Kitty Kohout.

Short's Rock-cress  [Photo #19953]

Arabis shortii can be identified, in part, by its coarsely toothed, auriculate leaves and very short white petals 2-3 mm long, which barely exceed the sepals.

Photo by Ryan O'Connor, WDNR.

Short's Rock-cress  [Photo #19978]

Photo by Ryan O'Connor, WDNR.

Short's Rock-cress  [Photo #19982]

Arabis shortii on a moist, mossy, sandstone ledge.

Photo by Ryan O'Connor, WDNR.


Support for Wisconsin's rare plant information has been provided by the Division of Forestry, the Endangered Resources Fund and the Wisconsin Rare Plant Preservation Fund. To donate, visit the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin [exit DNR].

Last revised: Tuesday, October 07, 2014
Southwest Savanna Southern Lake Michigan Coastal Western Coulees and Ridges Southeast Glacial Plains Central Sand Hills Central Lake Michigan Coastal Central Sand Plains Northern Lake Michigan Coastal Northern Lake Michigan Coastal Northeast Sands Western Prairie North Central Forest Northern Highlands Northwest Lowlands Northwest Sands Northwest Lowlands Superior Coastal Plains Forest Transition