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Kevin Doyle

Lanceolate Whitlow-cress (Draba lanceolata)

Life history

Species overview

Lanceolate Whitlow-cress (Draba lanceolata), a State Endangered plant, is found on exposed dolomite cliffs, especially along the Nigaran Escarpment. Blooming occurs early May through early July; fruiting occurs late June through late July. The optimal identification period for this species is early May through late July.

Synonyms: Draba cana, Draba breweri var. cana, Draba stylaris


  • Distinguishing characteristics: Distinguished from D. arabisans by stellate hairs that coat the outside of the fruits.
  • Flower characteristics: White, 4-petaled, usually about 12 per stem.
  • Fruit characteristics: Oblong, flattened, twisted pods.
  • Leaf characteristics: Basal leaves radially arranged in a tight cluster (rosette).


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


  • Growth form: Forb-erect
  • Vegetative reproduction:
  • Life cycle: Perennial
  • Comments: Associated Species: Campanula rotundifolia, Aquilegia canadensis, Hackelia deflexa var. americana.

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 Lanceolate Whitlow-cress (Draba lanceolata). 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 Draba lanceolata in the Natural Heritage Inventory Database as of March 2012.

Summary Information
State StatusEND
Federal Status in Wisconsinnone
State RankS1
Global RankG3G5Q
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 on exposed dolomite cliffs, especially along the Nigaran Escarpment.
  • Soils: Rocky or gravelly, calcareous soils.

Natural communities

This table lists the natural communities that are associated with Lanceolate Whitlow-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).

Natural communities score
Dry Cliff 3

Ecological landscapes

This table lists the ecological landscape association scores for Lanceolate Whitlow-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.

Lanceolate Whitlow-cress (Draba lanceolata) has very few known occurrences in the state and is of the highest priority for conservation; we encourage you to consult with your District Ecologist or NHI Botanist for specific recommendations for your site.

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

  • Follow BMPs, especially around streams and use care near ravines, steep slopes, cliffs, rock outcrops, etc.


Lanceolate Whitlow-cress  [Photo #1197]

Photo © Lee Frelich.

Lanceolate Whitlow-cress  [Photo #12305]

Photo by  staff, WDNR.

Lanceolate Whitlow-cress  [Photo #12308]

Photo © William S. Alverson.

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