Braun's Rockcress / Center For Plant Conservation
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Plant Profile

Braun's Rockcress (Boechera perstellata)

Full view of this short herb in flower, growing in the partial shade of a forest. Photo Credit: Kayri Havens
  • Global Rank: G2 - Imperiled
  • Legal Status: Federally Endangered
  • Family: Brassicaceae
  • State: KY, TN
  • Nature Serve ID: 130490
  • Lifeform: Forb/herb
  • Date Inducted in National Collection: 03/08/1989

Arabis perstellata was named by E. L. Braun from plants collected between 1936 and 1939 on wooded hillsides along Elkhorn Creek in Franklin County, Kentucky. The plant is distinguished from other Arabis by the stellate (star-shaped) hairs on its stems and leaves. Braun's rockcress flowers from late March to early May, showing petals that range in color from white to lavender (Rollins 1960).

Where is Braun's Rockcress (Boechera perstellata) located in the wild?


A. perstellata occurs on the slopes of calcareous mesophytic and sub-xeric forest types. It is sun intolerant and always occurs in at least partial shade. Plants are often found around rock outcrops, protected sites at the downslope side of tree bases, and sites of natural disturbance, such as talus slopes and animal trails. It is rarely found growing among the continuous herbaceous cover of the forest floor (USFWS 1995, 1997).Species associated with A. perstellata: Saxifraga viriniensis, Sedum pulchellum, Arabis laevigata, Asplenium rhizophyllum (Jones 1991)


Three counties in Kentucky, associated with the Kentucky River drainage system (USFWS 1997). Two counties in Tennessee in the Stones River drainage and also along the Cumberland River (USFWS 1997).

States & Provinces:

Braun's Rockcress can be found in Kentucky, Tennessee

Which CPC Partners conserve Braun's Rockcress (Boechera perstellata)?

CPC's Plant Sponsorship Program provides long term stewardship of rare plants in our National Collection. We are so grateful for all our donors who have made the Plant Sponsorship Program so successful. We are in the process of acknowledging all our wonderful plant sponsorship donors on our website. This is a work in progress and will be updated regularly.

Conservation Actions

Nature Serve Biotics
  • 05/02/2017

Currently known with certainty only from Kentucky and Tennessee; also reported from one site in Alabama, but this population has never been relocated. Most occurrences consist of a few individuals, although a few Kentucky populations have over 1000 plants each. This species is threatened throughout its range by development, logging, grazing and trampling, and competition with native and exotic weedy species, especially the European garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata).

Kimberlie McCue, Ph.D.
  • 01/01/2010

Threats include habitat destruction, weedy competitors, trampling, logging, road work and grazing (Jones 1991; USFWS 1995, 1997).

Kimberlie McCue, Ph.D.
  • 01/01/2010

25 populations; known from two separate sections of the Interior Low Plateaus, Blue Grass Section (Kentucky), and Central Basin Section (Tennessee) (USFWS 1997).

Kimberlie McCue, Ph.D.
  • 01/01/2010

A recovery plan has been written by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, but no centralized plan has yet been implemented.

Kimberlie McCue, Ph.D.
  • 01/01/2010

Management and research needs as outlined in the recovery plan (USFWS 1997) include locating new populations, determining optimal habitat conditions, developing a site management strategy, developing a public education plan.

Kimberlie McCue, Ph.D.
  • 01/01/2010

Secure and store viable seeds.


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Taxon Boechera perstellata
Authority (E.L. Braun) Al-Shehbaz
Family Brassicaceae
CPC Number 6035
ITIS 823071
Duration Perennial
Common Names Braun's rock-cress | Nevada rockcress | prairie rock-cress | small rock-cress
Associated Scientific Names Arabis perstellata | Arabis perstellata var. ampla | Boechera perstellata
Distribution Three counties in Kentucky, associated with the Kentucky River drainage system (USFWS 1997). Two counties in Tennessee in the Stones River drainage and also along the Cumberland River (USFWS 1997).
State Rank
State State Rank
Kentucky S2
Tennessee S1
Ecological Relationships


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