Rorippa sylvestris - (L.) Bess.
Creeping Yellowcress
Other Common Names: creeping yellowcress
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Rorippa sylvestris (L.) Bess. (TSN 23017)
French Common Names: rorippe sylvestre
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.153174
Element Code: PDBRA270N0
Informal Taxonomy: Plants, Vascular - Flowering Plants - Mustard Family
 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Plantae Anthophyta Dicotyledoneae Capparales Brassicaceae Rorippa
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Concept Reference
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Concept Reference: Kartesz, J.T. 1994. A synonymized checklist of the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. 2nd edition. 2 vols. Timber Press, Portland, OR.
Concept Reference Code: B94KAR01HQUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Rorippa sylvestris
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G5
Global Status Last Reviewed: 16May1988
Global Status Last Changed: 16May1988
Rounded Global Status: G5 - Secure
Nation: United States
National Status: NNA
Nation: Canada
National Status: NNA (19Mar2012)

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
United States Alabama (SNA), Arizona (SNA), Arkansas (SNA), Colorado (SNA), Connecticut (SNA), Delaware (SNA), District of Columbia (SNA), Idaho (SNA), Illinois (SNA), Indiana (SNA), Iowa (SNA), Kansas (SNA), Kentucky (SNA), Louisiana (SNA), Maine (SNA), Maryland (SNA), Massachusetts (SNR), Michigan (SNA), Minnesota (SNA), Mississippi (SNA), Missouri (SNA), Montana (SNA), Nebraska (SNA), New Hampshire (SNA), New Jersey (SNA), New Mexico (SNA), New York (SNA), North Carolina (SNA), North Dakota (SNA), Ohio (SNA), Oregon (SNA), Pennsylvania (SNA), Rhode Island (SNA), Tennessee (SNA), Utah (SNA), Vermont (SNA), Virginia (SNA), Washington (SNA), West Virginia (SNA), Wisconsin (SNA)
Canada Alberta (SNA), British Columbia (SNA), Manitoba (SNA), New Brunswick (SNA), Newfoundland Island (SNA), Nova Scotia (SNA), Ontario (SNA), Prince Edward Island (SNA), Quebec (SNA), Saskatchewan (SNA)

Other Statuses

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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U.S. States and Canadian Provinces
Color legend for Distribution Map
NOTE: The distribution shown may be incomplete, particularly for some rapidly spreading exotic species.

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States ALexotic, ARexotic, AZexotic, COexotic, CTexotic, DCexotic, DEexotic, IAexotic, IDexotic, ILexotic, INexotic, KSexotic, KYexotic, LAexotic, MA, MDexotic, MEexotic, MIexotic, MNexotic, MOexotic, MSexotic, MTexotic, NCexotic, NDexotic, NEexotic, NHexotic, NJexotic, NMexotic, NYexotic, OHexotic, ORexotic, PAexotic, RIexotic, TNexotic, UTexotic, VAexotic, VTexotic, WAexotic, WIexotic, WVexotic
Canada ABexotic, BCexotic, MBexotic, NBexotic, NFexotic, NSexotic, ONexotic, PEexotic, QCexotic, SKexotic

Range Map
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Ecology & Life History Not yet assessed
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Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
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Management Summary Not yet assessed
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Population/Occurrence Delineation Not yet assessed
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Population/Occurrence Viability
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U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank)
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Disclaimer: While I-Rank information is available over NatureServe Explorer, NatureServe is not actively developing or maintaining these data. Species with I-RANKs do not represent a random sample of species exotic in the United States; available assessments may be biased toward those species with higher-than-average impact.

I-Rank: Medium/Low
Rounded I-Rank: Medium
I-Rank Reasons Summary: In and of itself, this species does not appear to have highly significant impacts, although it is expanding and becoming more noxious in the northeast (e.g. Hudson River basin) as well as in the Great Lakes where it is considered an invasive aquatic species in some areas. Recently, the species has begun showing up in the Pacific northwest as well. In Germany, native Rorippa sylvestris hybridizes with non-native R. austriaca, forming Rorippa x armoracioides hybrids which appear to be more competitive/invasive than either of the parent species. Although both parents are present in the US and are likely to hybridize where they form contact zones, this potentially invasive hybrid has not yet been confirmed present. Management of R. sylvestris is possible by hand-removal several times a year.
Subrank I - Ecological Impact: Medium/Insignificant
Subrank II - Current Distribution/Abundance: Medium
Subrank III - Trend in Distribution/Abundance: High/Medium
Subrank IV - Management Difficulty: Medium/Low
I-Rank Review Date: 27Jun2006
Evaluator: J. Cordeiro, rev. K. Gravuer
Native anywhere in the U.S?
Native Range: This species is native to Europe (Crow and Hellquist, 2000; Murley, 1951). USDA ARS (National Genetic Resources Program) cites native range as western Asia, Caucasus, Northern Europe, Middle Europe, east Europe, East Europe, Southeastern Europe, Southwestern Europe.

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Screening Questions

S-1. Established outside cultivation as a non-native? YES
Comments: This species is now found as an invasive throughout most U.S. states (USDA, 2006). It has been in the U.S. since about 1818 (Elmore, 1998).

S-2. Present in conservation areas or other native species habitat? Yes
Comments: This species is now found as an invasive throughout most U.S. states (USDA, 2006). It has become more common in ornamental plantings over the years and has spread widely since introduction, probably through repeated introductions (Elmore, 1998).

Subrank I - Ecological Impact: Medium/Insignificant

1. Impact on Ecosystem Processes and System-wide Parameters:Low significance/Insignificant
Comments: No reports of impacts on ecosystem processes or system-wide parameters were found. Therefore, assume impacts are relatively insignificant.

2. Impact on Ecological Community Structure:Moderate significance
Comments: Rhizomes can create a thick mat of weed which completely smothers pasture and low-lying side rivers. Similar creeping rhizomous mats have been found in California and the Pacific northwest where it has been determined that this species has the potential to become a serious weed in greenhouse, container and field ornamentals (Elmore, 1998). A related species (Rorippa nasturtium-aquaticum; syn. Nasturtium officinale), like other Rorippa species, forms dense, tangled masses of stems and intertwining rhizomes floating in water or creeping over mud; rooted at several points, that may be several yards long (Czarapata, 2005). See Proportion Having Negative Impacts section for information on a particularly invasive hybrid, Rorippa x armoracioides, not yet found in the United States with large-scale invasiveness impacts.

3. Impact on Ecological Community Composition:Medium/Low significance
Comments: Rhizomes can create a thick mat of weed which completely smothers pasture and low-lying side rivers. Similar creeping rhizomous mats have been found in California and the Pacific northwest where it has been determined that this species has the potential to become a serious weed in greenhouse, container and field ornamentals (Elmore, 1998). Creeping weed mats have also been found in select areas of the northeast where Rorippa sylvestris is considered somewhat invasive (Uva et al., 1997), such as the Hudson River basin (Mills et al., 1997). See Proportion Having Negative Impacts section for information on a particularly invasive hybrid, Rorippa x armoracioides, not yet found in the United States with large-scale invasiveness impacts.

4. Impact on Individual Native Plant or Animal Species:Medium significance/Insignificant
Comments: No mention of disproportionate impacts on particular native species were found in the literature. However, this species appears to hybridize easily with at least one other Rorippa species in Europe (Bleeker, 2003; 2005; in press; Hurka et al., 2003), so it may have the potential to impact native US Rorippa. See Proportion Having Negative Impacts section for information on a particularly invasive hybrid, Rorippa x armoracioides, not yet found in the United States with large-scale invasiveness impacts.

5. Conservation Significance of the Communities and Native Species Threatened:Medium/Low significance
Comments: Crow and Hellquist (2000) list habitat as wet meadows, shores, and roadsides. In the Hudson River basin, it grows in low grounds, waste places, meadows, shores, and along roadsides (Mills et al., 1997). See Proportion Having Negative Impacts section for information on a particularly invasive hybrid, Rorippa x armoracioides, not yet found in the United States with large-scale invasiveness impacts.

Subrank II. Current Distribution and Abundance: Medium

6. Current Range Size in Nation:High significance
Comments: This species is now found as an invasive throughout most U.S. states (USDA, 2006; Crow and Hellquist, 2000). Notable exceptions include Texas, Oklahoma, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Nevada, South Dakota, and Wyoming, although this may reflect inadequate sampling effort (USDA, 2006).

7. Proportion of Current Range Where the Species is Negatively Impacting Biodiversity:Low significance
Comments: Particularly invasive crosses between Rorippa sylvestris and Rorippa austriaca, termed Rorippa x armoracioides, have been found at several sites in northern Germany and the Netherlands, particularly in areas where the putative parent species are absent, leading to the hypothesis that hybridization may play an important role in invasiveness in Rorippa (Bleeker, 2003; 2005; in press; Hurka et al., 2003). Natural populations of self-incompatible Rorippa species are often characterized by a low seed set and may be vulnerable to hybridization with much more invasive species of Rorippa if they occur together (Bleeker, 2005; in press). Rorippa x armoracioides has been found to outcompete native R. sylvestris in Germany in part because R. sylvestris allocates higher amounts of assimilates to the below ground organs reducing assimilation area in compared to the hybrid (Bleeker, 2005) and also because molecular diversity and seed set was high for the hybrid but very low outside the hybrid zone (Bleeker, in press). This is particularly true in environments where hybrid parents suffer from suboptimal habitat conditions (i.e. edge effect areas, disturbed areas). Outcome of hybridization in central Europe may largely be determined by ploidy level of the hybridizing R. sylvestris, which may be tetraploid, hexaploid, and rarely pentaploid (Bleeker and Matthies, 2005). This new, much more invasive taxon has not been confirmed as present in the United States but no studies have yet been undertaken on existing R. sylvestris and R. austriaca populations and these two species are likely to hybridize wherever they form contact zones. Currently, R. sylvestris is spreading and becoming increasingly important as a noxious exotic in the northeast (Uva et al., 1997). It was first recorded in the Hudson River basin in 1896 and is considered an invasive aquatic species there (Mills et al., 1997).

8. Proportion of Nation's Biogeographic Units Invaded:High significance
Comments: It is conservatively estimated that more than half of the 81 ecoregions have been invaded by Rorippa sylvestris in the United States (Cordeiro, pers. obs., June 2006, based on TNC, 2001).

9. Diversity of Habitats or Ecological Systems Invaded in Nation:Moderate significance
Comments: This species occurs along river embankments and seasonally flooded grasslands (Bleeker, 2005; in press) in its native Germany and in industrial and urban ruderal sites (Hurka et al., 2003). Crow and Hellquist (2000) list habitat as wet meadows, shores, and roadsides. In the Hudson River basin, it grows in low grounds, waste places, meadows, shores, and along roadsides (Mills et al., 1997).

Subrank III. Trend in Distribution and Abundance: High/Medium

10. Current Trend in Total Range within Nation:High/Moderate significance
Comments: The species first invaded the northeast then spread into the Great Lakes states and now is showing up in the midwest and west with the most recent new occurrences arriving in the Pacific northwest (USDA, 2006; Elmore, 1998).

11. Proportion of Potential Range Currently Occupied:Low significance
Comments: This species is listed as a noxious weed in California, Oregon, and North Carolina (USDA, 2006) and is becoming increasingly more invasive in the northeast (Uva et al., 1997).

12. Long-distance Dispersal Potential within Nation:High significance
Comments: Tiny seeds can probably float on water or blow about in the wind. Rorippa sylvestris is believed to spread rapidly at times of fast creek flow in autumn and winter in South Australia when rhizomes can fragment and spread downstream Woldendorp and Bomford, 2004). In the United States, Emore (1998) has documented vegetative
material (rhizomes) of the weed being shipped interstate with vegetatively propagated herbaceous ornamentals.


13. Local Range Expansion or Change in Abundance:Moderate significance
Comments: Many midwestern and western states occurrences in only one to three counties; while northeastern states (Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, New York, New Jersey, Virginia), and Great Lakes states (Wisconsin, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania) as well as some southern Mississippi drainage states (Missouri, Kentucky, Louisiana) show widespread invasions (USDA, 2006). It was first recorded in the Hudson River basin in 1896 and is considered an invasive aquatic species there (Mills et al., 1997). In California and the Pacific northwest, this species has recently emerged as an invasive pest with potential to invade natural systems through creeks when rhizome pieces (which can occur at depths up to 3 feet) fragment (Elmore, 1998).

14. Inherent Ability to Invade Conservation Areas and Other Native Species Habitats:Moderate significance
Comments: In California and the Pacific northwest, this species has recently emerged as an invasive pest with potential to invade natural systems through creeks when rhizome pieces (which can occur at depths up to 3 feet) fragment (Elmore, 1998). In Germany, where Rorippa sylvestris is native, plants occur naturally in various habitats of river systems and also colonize man made habitats (Bleeker, in press). The related species, Rorippa nasturtium-aquaticum (syn. Nasturtium officinale), is listed as an "invasive plant of lesser concern" in Czarapata (2005). Rhizomes easily fragment and can spread downstream (Woldendorp and Bomford, 2004).

15. Similar Habitats Invaded Elsewhere:Low significance
Comments: In New Zealand and Australia, this species is particularly invasive and rhizomes can create a thick mat of weed which completely smothers pasture and low-lying side rivers. This problem has been amplified there by rapid spread through horticulture sale through wholesale bulb nurseries (Woldendorp and Bomford, 2004).

16. Reproductive Characteristics:High significance
Comments: Rorippa sylvestris seems to set seed sparingly, but spreads rapidly from rhizomes with many buds. Rhizomes also easily fragment and each fragment is capable of founding a new plant (Elmore, 1998). Rorippa sylvestris, R. austriaca, and R. austriaca x sylvestris are perennials that are able to propagate vegetatively by lateral root rhizomess as well as sexually (Czarapata, 2005; Bleeker, in press; Uva et al., 1997). Rorippa sylvestris blooms from May to August (Nice, 2004) and has a high fruit/seed abundance (USDA, 2006). R. sylvestris is also highly self-incompatible. Natural populations of self-incompatible Rorippa species are often characterized by a low seed set and may be vulnerable to hybridization with much more invasive species of Rorippa if they occur together (Bleeker, 2005; in press).

Subrank IV. General Management Difficulty: Medium/Low

17. General Management Difficulty:Moderate significance
Comments: Czarapata (2005) sites successful control of related Rorippa species by hand removal, several times a year. Control of Rorippa sylvestris is mainly based on measures preventing mechanical distribution of root parts and on treatments with a combination of the herbicides 2-methyl-4-chlorophenoxyacetic acid (MCPA) and 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D) (Koster et al., 1997). In a report from England, this species was controlled with triclopyr (Garlon, Turfion) when established from rhizome pieces in pots, in the field, ar rates of 1 to 3 pounds per acre. Clopyralid (Stinger) was not effective at rates of 0.12 to 0.5 pounds per acre. Glyphosate (Roundup) was effective in killing the top growth, but regrowth occurred. Amitrole, fluroxypur (Starane), paraquat and MCPB did not give effective control. The post emergence herbicides 2,4-D, triclopyr, clopyralid and glyphosate were also evaluated in California. The 2,4-D or high rates of triclopyr were effective for control in California. Glyphosate controlled the top growth but did not kill the plants. In California tests, trifluralin, oryzalin and isoxaben suppressed the top growth by inhibiting new shoots and roots, however the rhizome piece remained alive and would regrow when the herbicide degraded (Elmore, 1998). Cost estimates for eradication (by herbicide application and droughting) of 19 infestations (gross area 1.4 ha, net area 0.1 ha, over distance 40 km) of Rorippa sylvestris at three main sites in south Australia and Tasmania were between USD$739 (South Australia) and USD$3177 (Tasmania) (Woldendorp and Bomford, 2004).

18. Minimum Time Commitment:Medium/Low significance
Comments: Czarapata (2005) sites successful control of related Rorippa species by hand removal, several times a year.

19. Impacts of Management on Native Species:Unknown
Comments: Impact on native species is not known.

20. Accessibility of Invaded Areas:Low significance/Insignificant
Comments: It appears most to all areas are easily accessible, as for most aquatic plants outside unusual habitats such as caves or high elevation streams or ponds.

Other Considerations: Particularly invasive crosses between Rorippa sylvestris and Rorippa austriaca, termed Rorippa x armoracioides, have been found at several sites in northern Germany and the Netherlands, particularly in areas where the putative parent species are absent, leading to the hypothesis that hybridization may play an important role in invasiveness in Rorippa (Bleeker, 2003; 2005; in press; Hurka et al., 2003). This new, much more invasive taxon has not been confirmed as present in the United States but no studies have yet been undertaken on existing R. sylvestris and R. austriaca populations and these two species are likely to hybridize wherever they form contact zones. R. sylvestris is also highly self-incompatible. Natural populations of self-incompatible Rorippa species are often characterized by a low seed set and may be vulnerable to hybridization with much more invasive species of Rorippa if they occur together (Bleeker, 2005; in press). For example, a single individual of Rorippa austriaca invading a large clone of R. sylvestris would result in the intraspecific R. sylvestris being unable to compete with the interspecific R. austriaca pollen and also vice versa since R. austriaca is a self-incompatible species too. This could lead to a potentially highly invasive hybrid (see Bleeker, in press).
Authors/Contributors
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Botanical data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs), The North Carolina Botanical Garden, and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).

References
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  • Bleeker, W. 2003. Abstract of Hybridization and Rorippa austriaca (Brassicaceae) invasion in Germany. Molecular Ecology, 12(7): 1831.

  • Bleeker, W. 2003. Hybridization and Rorippa austriaca (Brassicaceae) invasion in Germany. Molecular Ecology, 12: 1831-1841.

  • Bleeker, W. 2005. Evolutionary processes in hybrid zones between ivnasive and native species. Pages 22-23 in Biolog- Biodiversity and Global Change Status Report 2005. PT-DLR Environmental Research and Technology, Federal Ministry of Education and REsearch: Germany.

  • Bleeker, W. and A. Matthies. 2005. Hybrid zones between invasive Rorippa austriaca and native R. sylvestris (Bressicaceae) in Germany: ploidy levels and patterns of fitness in the field. Heredity, 94: 664-670.

  • Bleeker, W. in press. Interspecific hybridization in Rorippa (Brassicaceae): patterns and processes. Systematics and Biodiversity.

  • Crow, G.E. and C.B. Hellquist. 2000. Aquatic and Wetland Plants of Northeastern North America. A Revised and Enlarged Edition of Norman C. Fassett's A Manual of Aquatic Plants. Vol. 1, Pteridophytes, Gymnosperms, and Angiosperms: Dicotyledons. University of Wisconsin Press, Madison, Wisconsin. 448 pp.

  • Czarapata, E. J. 2005. Invasive Plants of the Upper Midwest. The University of Wisconsin Press. Madison, WI. 215 pp.

  • Elmore, C. 1998. New weed in California: creeping field cress. IPM Notes, 3(2): unpaginated.

  • Hurka, H., W. Bleeker, and B. Neuffer. 2003. Evolutionary processes associated with biological invasionis in the Brassicaceae. Biological Invasions, 5: 281-292.

  • Kartesz, J.T. 1994. A synonymized checklist of the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. 2nd edition. 2 vols. Timber Press, Portland, OR.

  • Koster, A.T.J., L.J. van der Meer, and M. van Muijen. 1997. Growth and control of Rorippa sylvestris. Acta Horticulturae, 430: 677-684.

  • Meades, S.J. & Hay, S.G; Brouillet, L. 2000. Annotated Checklist of Vascular Plants of Newfoundland and Labrador. Memorial University Botanical Gardens, St John's NF. 237pp.

  • Mills, E.L., M.D. Scheuerell, J.T. Carlton, and D.L. Strayer. 1997. Biological invasions in the Hudson River basin. New York State Museum Circular, 57: 1-51.

  • Murley, M.R. 1951. Seeds of the Cruciferae of northeastern North America. American Midland Naturalist, 46(1): 1-81.

  • Nice, G. 2004. Creeping yellow-cress and yellow water-cress. Pest & Crop, 14: 3-4.

  • The Nature Conservancy. 2001. Map: TNC Ecoregions of the United States. Modification of Bailey Ecoregions. Online . Accessed May 2003.

  • USDA, ARS, National Genetic Resources Program. 2005. December 9 last update. Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN) Online Database. National Germplasm Resources Laboratory, Beltsville, Maryland. Available: http://www.ars-grin.gov2/cgi-bin/npgs/html/index.pl (Accessed 2006).

  • USDA, NRCS. 2006. The PLANTS Database. USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (USDA, NRCS). National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70874-4490 USA. Available online: http://plants.usda.gov. Accessed: March 2006.

  • Uva, R.H., J.C. Neal, and J.M. DiTomaso. 1997. Weeds of the Northeast. Cornell University Press: Ithaca, New York. 397 pp.

  • Woldendorp, G. and M. Bomford. 2004. Weed eradication. Strategies, timeframes and costs. BRS Publication Sales, Common wealth of Australia: Camberra ACT Australia. 30 pp.

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