Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Shortpod Draba - Abdra brachycarpa   (Nuttall ex Torrey & A. Gray) Greene
Members of Brassicaceae:
Only member of Abdra in NC.
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Section 6 » Family Brassicaceae
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Author(Nuttall ex Torrey & A. Gray) Greene
DistributionScattered over most of the Piedmont, perhaps occurring in all counties. Also found at a handful of sites in the Coastal Plain, as well as in the southern Mountains.

This is a widespread species, but the center of abundance is in the Southern Plains and Lower Mississippi Valley. Ranges east to VA and northern FL.
AbundanceInfrequent to locally fairly common in the Piedmont, but an insignificant-looking plant that is easily overlooked and certainly under-collected. Very rare in the Coastal Plain and southern Mountains.
HabitatThis is a species of dry, rather open soils, of early succession places and little competition, mainly on clay soils (as opposed to sand). It grows along roadsides, fields, wooded edges, and occasionally around flatrocks.
PhenologyBlooms early, from late January to April, and fruits in February to May.
IdentificationMany members of the mustard family (Brassicaceae), native and exotic, grow on roadsides and in disturbed areas, and quite a few are small in stature, as is this species. It is usually branched at the base, with each branch/stem only about 4-6 inches long or tall, rarely to 8 inches. There is a basal rosette of small leaves, but the stem leaves are alternate, ascending, and elliptic to obovate but barely 1/4-inch long and much narrower. The inflorescences are terminal on each branch, a narrow raceme about 1.5 inches long, with 4 small white petals on each of the numerous flowers, and a flower spread about 1/4-inch or less. It is best to identify the species perhaps by its fruit, a silique (narrow capsule), only about 1/8-inch long and much narrower. Some other similar small mustards have rounded or heart-shaped capsules, but these are more ellipsoid or tubular in shape. Each raceme is dense with flowers or fruit, and almost appears "top-heavy" on a stalk with small leaves.
Taxonomic CommentsMost references name this as Draba brachycarpa. Only one other species has been moved from Draba into Abdra.

Other Common Name(s)Short-fruited Draba
State RankS3? [S3S4]
Global RankG4G5
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