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Erysimum capitatum (Douglas ex Hook.) Greene

Western wallflower, sanddune wallflower

KingdomPlantaePlants, but not fungi, lichens, or algae
SubkingdomTracheobiontaVascular plants—plants with a “circulatory system” for delivering water and nutrients
DivisionMagnoliophytaFlowering plants, also known as angiosperms
ClassMagnoliopsidaDicotyledons—plants with two initial seed leaves
SubclassRosidaeRoses, legumes, proteas, dogwoods, hydrangeas, mistletoes, euphorbias, grapes, many more
OrderBrassicalesMustard, cabbage, caper, papaya, nasturtiums, many others; most produce mustard oil
FamilyBrassicaceaeMustards, cabbages
GenusErysimumFrom the Greek eryomai, “to help or save,” because some of the species supposedly had a medicinal value
SpeciescapitatumCapitate, refers to the way the flowers form in a head-like cluster

About plant names...

Coastal wallflower is native to North America. It is a member of the very large mustard family.

Identification: Plants are 12-48" (30-121 cm) tall, often with a single stem, sometimes with a few branches. Stems are coated with grayish hairs lying parallel against the stem. There is a basal rosette of many narrow leaves with variable shape and size, smooth-edged or toothed, 1-4½" (3-12 cm) × ¹/₁₆-⅜" (2-10 mm). Narrow leaves also appear sparsely along the stem. Flowers have four flat petals, and are 1-1¾" (3-5 cm) in diameter. They are yellow to deep orange, sometimes purplish-maroon or white; appearing from March to August. Fruits are upward-pointing pods 1-4" (3-10 cm) long and about ¹/₃₂" (1.5 mm) wide, four-sided.

Online References:


Southeastern Arizona Wildflowers and the Plants of the Sonoran Desert

The USDA Plants Database


Wildflowers, Ferns & Trees of Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, and Utah


Montana Plant Life

Turner Photographics' Wildflowers site

Eastern Colorado Wildflowers

SEINet—the Southwest Environmental Information Network

The Jepson Manual


Erysimum capitatum description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 25 May 2020.

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Erysimum capitatum (western wallflower, sanddune wallflower)

5/22/2009 · Slide Rock State Park, Sedona, Ari­zona
≈ 8 × 9" (19 × 24 cm) ID is uncertain

Erysimum capitatum (western wallflower, sanddune wallflower)

5/22/2009 · Slide Rock State Park, Sedona, Ari­zona
≈ 5 × 6" (13 × 14 cm) ID is uncertain

Range: Zones 3-7:

About this map...