FLORA OF ICELAND elements: Draba oxycarpa (Draba alpina), alpine whitlowgrass

Draba oxycarpa (D. alpina var. oxycarpa); The Alpine Whitlowgrass is the only common/rather rare yellow-flowering whitlowgrass species on Iceland. This species grows - as the English name suggests - at high altitudes. The first time I saw it was on the slopes of the Snæfell mountain in eastern Iceland. It is a rather rare species on Iceland.
It is a member of the cabbage (= mustard) family) (Brassicaceae formerly known as Cruciferae).

Just a note on the taxonomy: Draba oxycarpa is regarded by some florists as a variety of Draba alpina while others accept it as a full species, different from Draba alpina. Biologists on Iceland hold the latter view. The English name (alpine whitlowgrass) refers to both groups. The nominate "alpina" differs from "oxycarpa" amongst other by having brighter yellow petals and purple-fringed sepals. It has been shown that the nominate "alpina" is a decaploid species where "oxycarpa" is an octoploid species (see: Flora of North America Vol.7 pp 325). The Icelandic name of this species is Fjallavorblóm.

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A brief introduction to Iceland plants
Text & Photographs by Dick Vuijk - unless stated otherwise


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