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Missouri Rock-cress (Boechera missouriensis)

Life history

Species overview

Missouri Rock-cress (Boechera missouriensis), a Wisconsin Special Concern plant, is found in soil pockets on acidic cliffs, as well as in pine forests on sterile sand and gravel outwash plains. Blooming occurs late May through late June; fruiting occurs late June through late July. The optimal identification period for this species is late May through late June.

Synonyms: Arabis laevigata var. missouriensis, Arabis missouriensis, Arabis missouriensis var. deamii, Arabis viridis, Arabis viridis var. deamii


  • Distinguishing characteristics: Basal leaves toothed, usually at least a few deeply pinnatifid; base of stem has sparse hairs; fruits reflexed or drooping; white petals 5 to 8 mm long, nearly twice as long as the sepals.
  • Flower characteristics: Clusters (racemes) of creamy-white flowers with petals 6 to 8 mm in length, twice as long as the sepals.
  • Fruit characteristics: Long slender pods 5 to 9 cm x 2 mm, reflexed and widely divergent from main stem, bearing a single row of oblong flat, winged seeds.
  • Leaf characteristics: Basal leaves toothed along edges, petiolate, and sparsely covered with hairs; numerous cauline (stem) leaves are linear or lance shaped, sessile (lacking petioles), and hairless.


  • Blooming phenology: late May through late June
  • Fruiting phenology: late June through late July
  • Optimum time to identify: The optimal identification period for this species is late May through late June


  • Growth form: Forb-erect
  • Vegetative reproduction:
  • Life cycle: Biennial
  • Comments: Associated Species: Populus spp., Polypodium vulgare, Aquilegia canadensis, Polygonum cilinode, Corydalis sempervirens, Amelanchier spp.

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 Missouri Rock-cress (Boechera missouriensis). 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 Boechera missouriensis in the Natural Heritage Inventory Database as of July 2015.

Summary Information
State StatusSC
Federal Status in Wisconsinnone
State RankS2
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 soil pockets on acidic cliffs, as well as in pine forests on sterile sand and gravel outwash plains.
  • Soils: Rocky or sandy soils.

Natural communities

This table lists the natural communities that are associated with Missouri 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 Missouri 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.

  • No avoidance measures have been developed for this species.

Management guidance

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

  • No guidance has been developed for this species.


Missouri Rock-cress Photo.

Photo © Corey Raimond.

Missouri Rock-cress Photo.

Arabis missouriensis v. deamii in glade.

Photo by Andy Clark, Wisconsin DNR.

Missouri Rock-cress Photo.

First visited on May 2, 2007. Arabis missouriensis v. deamii in flower.

Photo by Andy Clark, Wisconsin DNR.

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: Wednesday, May 05, 2021
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