California Rockcress (Boechera californica) - TheBackCountry

Boechera (rockcress) is a genus of the family Brassicaceae. It was named after the Danish botanist Tyge W. Böcher (1909–1983), who was known for his research in alpine plants, including the mustards Draba and Boechera holboellii. According to recent molecular based studies Boechera is closely related to the genus Arabidopsis which also includes the widely known model plant Arabidopsis thaliana.

Boechera is a primarily North American genus, most diverse in the western United States but its distribution range also includes Greenland and the Russian Far East. The genus is poorly known, and species within are difficult to separate morphologically through some clearly distinct species are known.

Most members of the genus are perennial plants with pubescent leaves with stellate trichomes, narrow curving fruits, and small white to purple flowers in elongated racemes. Relationships within the genus are unclear, and some eastern North American species, including B. laevigata, may belong to a clade distinct from the rest of the genus.

A very interesting feature of many species of the genus is asexual reproduction, a process known as apomixis. Microsatellite data has revealed that some of the apomictic lineages are hybrids between two or more sexual parents.

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