Tahoe yellow cress (Rorippa subumbellata) is a perennial plant that grows very low to the ground in small clusters. It is a member of the mustard family (Brassicaceae) and spreads by underground rhizomes. The leaves are 1 to 3 centimeters long, and wavy or lobed along the edges. The yellow flowers are small and grow in compact clusters.
Down But Not Out
As recently as 1996, this unique member of the mustard family teetered on the brink of extinction when it disappeared from beaches in Nevada and was found growing in less than 10 sites on the California side of the lake. If you see fences along the beach please stay away and let Tahoe yellow cress thrive. By protecting TYC now, we can prevent it from becoming federally endangered and save Lake Tahoe from more restrictions.
A common yellowcress is also found on the shores of Lake Tahoe. The western yellowcress (Rorippa curvisiliqua) can grow in the same habitat as TYC. Unlike TYC, which is restricted to Lake Tahoe, the western yellowcress may be found in many different habitats including forest, grassland, and wetlands throughout western North America.