Perennials or subshrubs; (woody base aboveground); (glaucous), glabrous throughout. Stems several from base, erect or ascending, branched (several) distally, 2-5.5(-10) dm. Basal leaves absent. Cauline leaves sessile; blade linear and undivided or pinnately lobed (lobes 3-7(-9), linear), (1.5-)2.2-8.4(-10.2) cm × (0.7-)1-2.8(-4.2) mm, base attenuate, not auriculate, margins entire, (similar, smaller distally). Racemes (panicles), elongated in fruit. Fruiting pedicels divaricate-ascending to horizontal, usually straight, rarely slightly curved, (terete), (3.5-)4.3-7.6 (-8.5) × 0.15-0.2 mm. Flowers: sepals obovate, 1.5-2.5 (-3) × 1-1.6 mm; petals white, spatulate, 2.5-4.2 × 1.5-2.2 mm, claw 1-2 mm; stamens 6; filaments 1.8-3 mm; anthers 0.4-0.7 mm. Fruits obovate to orbicular, (4-)4.5-7(-8) × 4.2-7(-8) mm, apically winged, apical notch (0.1-)0.2-0.5 mm deep; valves thin, smooth, not veined; style 0.2-0.8(-1) mm, exserted beyond apical notch. Seeds ovate, 1.6-2.1 × 0.9-1.1 mm. 2n = 32. Flowering Mar-Jun. Desert shrub communities, pinyon-juniper woodlands, sandy washes, gravelly deserts, barren knolls, bluffs, roadsides, steep limestone outcrops, rocky ledges and slopes; 400-2100 m; Ariz., Calif., Nev., Utah. Rollins established var. stipitatum on the basis of fruits obovate with gynophores 0.5-0.75 mm versus (var. fremontii) fruits orbicular to ovate and sessile. These two characters often do not covary and stipitate fruits occur sporadically throughout the species range, including Arizona (Lemmon s.n., GH), California (Morefield 3427, GH), and Nevada (Comanor 18, GH; Hitchcock 3078, GH).
FNA 2010, Jepson 2012, Kearney and Peebles 1969
Duration: Perennial Nativity: Native Lifeform: Subshrub General: Herbaceous or shrubby perennials, to 1 m tall, stems several from base, erect or ascending and branching several times distally, herbage glaucous or glabrous throughout, stems of mature plants woody well above the base, with pungent, watery sap. Leaves: Alternate, basal leaves absent, cauline leaves sessile, linear, lanceolate, or oblanceolate and undivided or pinnately lobed into 3-9 narrow, linear lobes, these 1.5-10 cm long and 1-4 mm wide, bases attenuate, without auricles at leaf attachment site, margins entire, blades becoming reduced near stem tips. Flowers: White with 4 rounded petals forming a cross, petals white, spatulate, 2.5-4 mm long and 1.5-3 mm wide, claws 1-2 mm long, sepals 4, free, obovate, 1.5-3 mm long and 1-1.5 mm wide, stamens 6 with 4 long and 2 short, filaments 1.5-3 mm long, anthers to 0.5 mm long, ovary solitary and superior, generally 2-chambered with a septum connecting 2 parietal placentas, styles solitary, to 1 mm long, stigmas entire or 2-lobed, flowers borne in elongated racemes at branch tips. Fruits: Obovate to orbicular. siliques dehiscent into 2 valves and a septum, 4-8 mm in diameter, with a winged tip, apical notch to 0.5 mm deep, valves thin, smooth, not veined, style persistent and exserted beyond apical notch, fruiting pedicels divaricate-ascen Ecology: Found on dry sandy or gravelly soils in desert shrub communities, plains and mesas, pi-on-juniper woodlands, washes, deserts, barren knolls, bluffs, roadsides, steep limestone outcrops, rocky ledges and slopes, from 1,500-7,000 ft (457-2134 m); flowering Distribution: Arizona, California, Nevada, Utah. Ethnobotany: Seeds pounded, mixed with water and used as a beverage. Synonyms: Nasturtium fremontii Editor: LCrumbacher2012 Etymology: Lepidium comes from the Greek lepidion, meaning "a little scale," in reference to the shape of the fruit pods, and fremontii is named for John Charles Fremont (1813-1890), "the Pathfinder," Army officer and presidential candidate who collected plants on four hazardous journeys exploring the western United States.