Arabis blepharophylla

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Arabis blepharophylla Hook. & Arn.


Life form: perennial

Exposure: sun   7

Moisture: dry bis Moisture: moderately moist

Soil: sand - Soil: gritty-sandy - Soil: gritty loam

Arrangement: alternate
Leaves: evergreen

Shape: ovate

Division: simple

Shape: cruciform
Fruit: silique

84C / b685ca 

Inflorescence: raceme

Petals: single
Habit: not specified

Growth form: cushion- or mound-forming



Arabis blepharophylla, commonly known as Rose Rock Cress, is a perennial that is rare in the wild but a popular garden ornamental.


Arabis blepharophylla was described in 1838 by William Jackson Hooker and George Arnott Walker Arnott. The name is considered as validly published.


The Rose Rock Cress is a species in the genus Arabis (rockcress, a common name also used for Arabidopsis ) which contains approximately 124 to 330 species and belongs to the family of the Brassicaceae (Mustard Family).


Arabis blepharophylla - flower


The perennials have a pulvinate (cushion-formig) habit and reach heights of 5 to 25 centimetres. The plants reach a width of 10 to 30 centimetres.


Arabis blepharophylla is an evergreen plant with simple basal and cauline leaves. The basal leaves are petiolate, oblanceolate to spatulate and can have dentate or entire margins. The alternate cauline leaves are sessile. They are ovate and may also have dentate or entire margins. The basal leaves are 1,5 to 6 centimetres long, the cauline leaves are slightly smaller.

Flowers and Fruit

The cross-shaped flowers are purple. The petals are wide spatulate and approximately 1,5 centimetres long. The flowers are arranged in dense terminal racemes. The plants bloom from March to May. The plants are hermaphroditic.

The fruits are [silique]]s that are up to 4 centimetres long.


Arabis blepharophylla is native to California where it grows on rocky or grassy hillsides and buffs in altitudes between 50 and 200 metres.


The Rose Rock Cress prefers a sunny position but also tolerates light semi-shade. They tolerate temperatures down to -18°C (USDA zone 7). The soil should be moderately moist to dry, well-drained and not too fertile. Water-logged soil is not tolerated. The plants grow best on sandy, sandy-gritty or pebbly loam.

Classification after Prof. Dr. Sieber

  • rockeries


The ornamental value of Arabis blepharophylla lies especially in its fragrance. Well suited for rock gardens, wild gardens, on mural crowns, in flower boxes or troughs, for beds and borders, as well as suited as groundcover. Good plant companions are e.g. Phlox subulata, Aubrieta, Aurinia saxatilis, Arabis alpina subsp. caucasica or Muscari.

Maintenance and Propagation

Hardly any maintenance is necessary if grown in suitable conditions. Deadhead if practicable. Spreading by offshoots can be controlled as necessary.

Propagate by seed. Do not cover seed with soil since they need light to germinate. Germination takes approximately 3 weeks at a temperature of 15°C, 2 weeks under foil. Plants can be devided after a few years and can also be propagated by cuttings in summer.

Varities and Cultivars

Pests and Diseases

White tufts or white covering on the lower surface of the leaves indicates an infection with downy mildew. Remove affected plants and apply a fungicide. To prevent infection improve ventilation, keep the roots moist and do not water the plants from above.


  • Walter Erhardt, Erich Götz, Nils Bödeker, Siegmund Seybold: Der große Zander. Eugen Ulmer KG, Stuttgart 2008, ISBN 978-3-8001-5406-7. (Ger.)
  • Christoper Brickell (Editor-in-chief): RHS A-Z Encyclopedia of Garden Plants. Third edition. Dorling Kindersley, London 2003, ISBN 0-7513-3738-2.

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