Descurainia sophia

Tracheophyta MagnoliopsidaCruciferaeDescurainiaDescurainia sophia


An annual, or rarely biennial, herb which is locally abundant as a weed in arable fields in light soils in E. England. Elsewhere, it can occur in long-established populations, but is usually a casual in waste places. Lowland.



World Distribution

The precise native range of D. sophia is uncertain; as an archaeophyte it has a Eurosiberian Temperate range and is naturalised in N. America and the S. hemisphere.

© K.J. Walker, BSBI

Broad Habitats

Arable and horticultural (includes orchards, excludes domestic gardens)

Light (Ellenberg): 8

Moisture (Ellenberg): 4

Reaction (Ellenberg): 7

Nitrogen (Ellenberg): 6

Salt Tolerance (Ellenberg): 0

January Mean Temperature (Celsius): 3.6

July Mean Temperature (Celsius): 15.6

Annual Precipitation (mm): 738

Height (cm): 100

Perennation - primary


Life Form - primary

Therophyte (annual land plant)



Clonality - primary

Little or no vegetative spread

Count of 10km squares in Great Britain: 636

Count of 10km squares in Ireland: 31

Count of 10km squares in the Channel Isles: 1

Atlas Change Index: -0.29

Weighted Changed Factor: 2

Weighted Change Factor Confidence (90%)


JNCC Designations


Atlas text references

Atlas (52b)
Best KF
1977.  The biology of Canadian weeds. 22. Descurainia sophia (L.) Webb. Canadian Journal of Plant Science. 57:499-507.
Hultén E, Fries M
1986.  Atlas of north European vascular plants north of the Tropic of Cancer. 3 vols.
Jalas & Suominen (1994)
Meusel H, Jäger E, Weinert E
1965.  Vergleichende Chorologie der zentraleuropäischen Flora. Volume 1. 2 vols.
Rich TCG
1991.  Crucifers of Great Britain and Ireland. Botanical Society of the British Isles Handbook no. 6.
Salisbury EJ
1964.  Weeds & Aliens, edn 2.