Rorippa subumbellata

Common Names:
marsh cress, Tahoe yellow-cress
Growth Habit:
CPC Number:
Profile Contributors:
Edward Guerrant, Ph.D.
Fully Sponsored

Reference Links

ITIS - Tropicos - USDA Plants - Fish & WildLife

Participating Institutions

The following Participating Institutions are custodians for this species in the CPC National Collection:
Rae Selling Berry Seed Bank & Plant Conservation Programs
Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden
Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden

The conservation of Rorippa subumbellata is fully sponsored.
Edward Guerrant, Ph.D. contributed to this Plant Profile.


Lake Tahoe is a popular vacation destination for many Americans. Perhaps, too popular. This hot-spot for boaters and sunbathers is the only naturally occurring site of the Lake Tahoe yellowcress. Rorippa subumbellata inhabits a seven-foot "tidal" zone between the low and high water lines of Lake Tahoe. This low-growing perennial has proven to be adaptable from year to year depending on the amount of rainfall. During years with low rainfall, the cress can grow lower on the exposed beach from seed or rootstock. In years of higher rainfall, the cress is limited by the availability of exposed beach. This delicate lakefront habitat is threatened by constant abuse from boat wake, dock construction, and uncontrolled recreation. Due to continuous abuse of the unique Lake Tahoe yellowcress habitat, only an estimated 14 of the 48 historically known populations survive.

Efforts are being made to limit construction and the degradation of the yellowcress' habitat. This mustard family member has been listed as "Endangered" by the state of California since 1982 and "Critically Endangered" by the state of Nevada since 1980. On December 11th 2000, the League to Save Lake Tahoe and the Center for Biological Diversity submitted a formal petition to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to list the Tahoe yellow cress as an Endangered species. Without federal protection and the efforts of local conservationists and Tahoe area residents, the plant will continue to slide toward extinction.

Distribution & Occurrence


Conservation, Ecology & Research