Yellow Rocket, St. Barbara’s Herb, Herb Barbara, Wintercress, Bittercress, Rocketcress, Yellow Rocketcress, Wound Rocket, Creasy, Creecy, Creesy, Cressy Greens, Upland Cress
Synonyms of Barbarea vulgaris (39) (Updated on 5-3-21): Arabis barbarea Bernh., Barbarea abortiva Hausskn., Barbarea altaica Andrz. ex Steud., Barbarea arcuata f. brachycarpa (Rouy & Foucaud) Kuusk, Barbarea arcuata f. pubescens (Busch) Kuusk, Barbarea augustana Boiss., Barbarea barbarea MacMill., Barbarea barbarea subsp. brachycarpa (Rouy & Foucaud) Piper, Barbarea barbarea var. longisiliquosa (Carion) Farw., Barbarea ceretana Sennen, Barbarea croatica Borbás & Vuk., Barbarea hirsuta Weihe, Barbarea iberica (Willd.) DC., Barbarea kayseri Schur, Barbarea linnaei Spenn., Barbarea lyrata Asch., Barbarea macrophylla Halácsy, Barbarea pyrenaica Jord., Barbarea rivularis Martrin-Donos, Barbarea rupestris Steud., Barbarea sicula Gren. & Godr., Barbarea stolonifera Pomel, Barbarea stricta Willk., Barbarea sylvestris Jord., Barbarea vicina Martrin-Donos, Barbarea vulgaris var. brachycarpa Rouy & Foucaud, Barbarea vulgaris var. longisiliquosa Carion, Barbarea vulgaris f. plena Fernald, Campe barbarea (Garsault) W.Wight, Campe barbarea var. hirsuta (Weihe) House, Campe rivularis (Martrin-Donos) A.Heller, Campe vulgaris (R.Br.) Dulac, Crucifera barbaraea (L.) E.H.L.Krause, Eruca barbarea Lam., Erysimum barbarea L., Erysimum lucidum Salisb., Erysimum lyratum Gilib., Erysimum lyrifolium Stokes, Sisymbrium barbarea Crantz
Barbarea vulgaris W.T.Aiton is the correct and accepted scientific name for the Yellow Rocket. The genus and species were named and described as such by William Townsend Aiton in the second edition of Hortus Kewensis in 1812.
Some websites and databases have the scientific name written as Barbarea vulgaris R.Br. The link to IPNI states: “Although R. Brown is considered to have authored the Brassicaceae treatment in Hortus kew. ed. 2 (see TL-2 Suppl. III: 141; Vienna Code Art. 46.7 Ex. 29).), W. T. Aiton, the publishing author, did not mention or indicate R. Brown’s name for Brassicaceae; therefore, W. T. Aiton is author of the Brassicaceae novelties in his work.”
Plants of the World Online by Kew still list 27 accepted species in the Barbarea genus (as of 5-3-21 when I last updated this page). It is a member of the plant family Brassicaceae (Mustard Family) which includes 343 genera. Those numbers could change as updates are made (and likely will).
The above distribution map of Barbara vulgaris is from Plants of the World Online. Areas in green are where the species is native and purple where it has been introduced. The map on the USDA Plants Database for the United States and Canada is somewhat different.
The genus gets its name from St. Barbara who is the patron saint of artillerymen. The plant was once used to soothe wounds caused by explosions.
THERE ARE A FEW LINKS AT THE BOTTOM OF THE PAGE FOR FURTHER READING AND BETTER POSITIVE ID.
There are several members of the plant family Brassicaceae that look very similar from a distance. Not all have yellow flowers. Horseradish, for one, has white flowers. Some also have large edible roots.
Barbarea vulgaris is a herbaceous biennial that normally grows to around 30” in height. The first year they form a rosette of basal leaves and flower their second rear.
Origin: Eurasia and North Africa.
Zones: USDA Zones 2a-9b (-45 to 25° F).
Size: 12-24” tall. Some information says up to 36” tall.
Light: Sun to part shade.
Flowers: Yellow flowers from late spring through early fall.
The abundant flowers, up to 1/3” across, have four petals, which have four yellow-green sepals. Flowers are replaced by a slender seed pod (siliques). Bees and other insects feed on the nectar and pollen of this plant and a few caterpillars feed on their leaves and flowers. There are also several beetle species that feed on their leaves.
Barbarea vulgaris prefers growing in full sun, although they do grow partly shay areas as well. They prefer growing in moist soil and dryer conditions provide less growth. Most of their growth occurs during the spring when temperatures are still cool.
Although their leaves are edibles in the spring, they become somewhat bitter later.
I have enjoyed photographing and learning about the many wildflowers growing on the farm and other areas. I have grown over 500 different plants and most have pages listed on the right side of the blog. I am not an expert, botanist, or horticulturalist. I just like growing, photographing and writing about my experience. I rely on several websites for ID and a horticulturalist I contact if I cannot figure them out. Wildflowers can be somewhat variable from location to location, so sometimes it gets a bit confusing. If you see I have made an error, please let me know so I can correct what I have written.
I hope you found this page useful and be sure to check the links below for more information. They were written by experts and provide much more information. If you can, I would appreciate it if you would click on the “Like” below and leave a comment. It helps us bloggers stay motivated. You can also send an email to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would enjoy hearing from you.
FOR FURTHER READING:
PLANTS OF THE WORLD ONLINE (GENUS/SPECIES)
INTERNATIONAL PLANT NAMES INDEX (GENUS/SPECIES)
FLORA OF NORTH AMERICA (GENUS/SPECIES)
WORLD FLORA ONLINE (GENUS/SPECIES)
USDA PLANTS DATABASE
PFAF (PLANTS FOR A FUTURE)
INVASIVE PLANT ATLAS
THE FRIENDS OF THE WILDFLOWER GARDEN
NOTE: The figures may not match on these websites. It depends on when and how they make updates and when their sources make updates (and if they update their sources or even read what they say). Some websites have hundreds and even many thousands of species to keep up with. Accepted scientific names change periodically and it can be hard to keep with as well. In my opinion, Plants of the World Online by Kew is the most reliable and up-to-date plant database and they make updates on a regular basis. I make updates at least once a year and when I write new pages but I do get behind. We are all a work in progress. 🙂