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Malcomia africana
Strigosella africana. Synonym: Malcolmia africana. (African Mustard)
Brassicaceae (Mustard Family)

Semi-desert, foothills.  Disturbed areas, openings. Spring, summer.
Corona Arch Trail, Utah, April 13, 2005.

This gorgeous miniature is actually an invasive species that grows to be a weedy aggressor of vacant lots and disturbed wild areas.  It starts as a minute carpet of lovely dark green leaves that have very obvious and attractive star-burst hairs.  Delicate pink and white flowers follow, but soon the plant sets in good roots, spreads, and grows to over a foot tall.  Leaves become much larger and more coarsely toothed and the tiny flowers are overshadowed by the leaves and the two or three inch long seed pods.  (See the bottom photo.)

"Strigosella" means "small hairy". "Malcomia" honors 18th century British nurseryman, William Malcolm.  (More biographical information about Malcolm.)  The plant was first named Hesperis africana by Linnaeus in 1753, was renamed Malcolmia africana in 1812, and was renamed Strigosella africana in 1972.

 

Malcolmia africana

Malcomia africana

Strigosella africana. Synonym: Malcolmia africana. (African Mustard)
Brassicaceae (Mustard Family)

Semi-desert, foothills.  Disturbed areas, openings. Spring, summer.
Canyons of the Ancients National Monument, April 11, 2010 and Corona Arch Trail, Utah, April 13, 2005.

Starburst hairs surround dainty, very attractive flowers.

Malcomia africana

Malcolmia africana

Strigosella africana. Synonym: Malcolmia africana. (African Mustard)
Brassicaceae (Mustard Family)

Semi-desert, foothills.  Disturbed areas, openings. Spring, summer.
Corona Arch Trail, Utah, May 4, 2005 and
Angel Peak National Recreation Area, New Mexico, June 3, 2010.

The top photograph at left shows the same plants shown in the top picture on this page but three weeks later.  The delicate characteristics have been replaced by dense vegetation that crowds out everything else.  The upward arching thin strips are the seed pods, as shown also in the final photograph.

Strigosella africana bears some resemblance to  Chorispora tenella, but the latter is far more wide-spread in our area, has more numerous flowers that carpet the ground in magenta, and its leaves usually have glandular hairs rather than forked hairs.

Range map © John Kartesz,
Floristic Synthesis of North America

State Color Key

Species present in state and native
Species present in state and exotic
Species not present in state

County Color Key

Species present and not rare
Species present and rare
Species extirpated (historic)
Species extinct
Species noxious
Species exotic and present
Native species, but adventive in state
Eradicated
Questionable presence

Range map for Strigosella africana