Draba rigida var. bryoides
Common Name: draba 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Brassicaceae
Native Range: Eastern Turkey, northern Iran, Caucasus
Zone: 4 to 8
Height: 0.25 to 0.50 feet
Spread: 0.25 to 0.50 feet
Bloom Time: April to May
Bloom Description: Yellow
Sun: Full sun
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Flower: Showy
Leaf: Evergreen
Other: Winter Interest


Best grown in gritty, sharply-drained soils in full sun. Needs ample light, good drainage and protection from overly wet soils in winter. Winter hardy to USDA Zones 4-8. May be propagated from seed, cuttings or division.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Draba rigida, commonly known as whitlow grass, is a compact, slow-growing, tufted evergreen perennial which forms small dense rosettes of linear, rigid, hairy-margined, dark green leaves rising to 3” tall and spreading to 5” wide. Slender naked stems bearing racemes of tiny 4-petaled bright yellow flowers appear in spring. Flowers are followed by oblong seed capsules. The within species is native to Armenia and Turkey.

Var. bryoides (some say it is a synonym of Draba bryoides and others say it is a synonym of Draba rigida) produces slightly smaller tufts of foliage than the species, typically maturing in tight rosettes of dark green leaves to 2” tall spreading to 3” wide. Bright yellow flowers bloom in racemes. It is native to Armenia and the Caucasus Mountains.

Genus name comes from a Greek name for a cruciferous plant, probably Cardaria draba.

Specific epithet means rigid or stiff. Bryoides means mosslike in reference to foliage appearance.

Common name is somewhat misleading in that this plant is not a true grass but belongs to the mustard family. The common name is a reference to a formerly held belief that genus plants could be used to cure whitlow (an infection on the fingers and toes caused by the herpes simplex virus).


No serious insect or disease problems. Aphids, slugs and vine weevils may appear.


Rock gardens, troughs. May be grown in shallow terracotta pots.