The photo at right is a close-up of the inflorescence of pale alyssum as seen seen along Road 22 north of the boundary of the Ochoco N.F........May 24, 1998.
Also known as small alyssum, pale alyssum is a small, weedy annual or biennial with simple to branched stems from 6-30 cm high. The herbage of the stems and inflorescence consists of whitish to grayish appressed , star-like hairs. The narrowly oblanceolate to spatulate leaves range from 5-25 mm long and have entire margins. The lower stem leaves may have short petioles while those of the upper stems are sessile.
The inflorescence is a tightly packed inflorescence which elongates in fruit. The spreading pedicels are about as long as the silicles. The sepals are up to 2 mm long and are covered with star-like hairs. They are persistent and become reflexed when in bloom. The 4 petals are white, cream or light yellow and 3-4 mm long with a small notch at the tip (See the photo at right.). The fruits are silicles which are ovate-oval in shape, with flattened margins but bulged in the middle. The silicles measure 3-4 mm long.
Pale alyssum may be found in dry, disturbed soils along roadsides, road cuts, fields, quarries and other disturbed places, especially to the east of the Cascades.
A native of Europe, pale alyssum may be widely found across much of the United States.