Draba cusickii var. cusickii
Synonyms: Draba sphaeroides, Draba sphaeroides var. cusickii
Steens draba as seen along the upper South Loop Road on the Steens Mountain, Harney County, Oregon..............August 31, 2011.
The photo at right shows a close-up of the flowers of Steens draba. Photographed at the Rooster Comb, Steens Mt. in southeastern Oregon......June 23, 1999.
Also known as Steens Mountain whitlow-grass, Steens draba is a perennial wildflower which forms mat-like cushions with several leafy stems arising 2-4 cm and the flower stems another 7-15 cm above them. The leaves are spatulate or obovate in shape with entire margins and blades from 4-10 mm long. The blades are densely haired with branched to fork hairs on both the upper and lower surfaces. The flower stems are thin and lax and are covered by delicate branched hairs which give them a "frosted" appearance. One or two small leaves may be found near the base of the stem.
The inflorescence is a raceme of yellow flowers. The petals are 3-5 mm long. The fruits are siliques which eventually are found over about 2/3 the length of the flower stem. They are lance-oblong in shape and flat in cross-section. They are 5-7 mm long and are covered with fine hairs.
Steens Draba may be found on open rocky ridges on the Steens Mt.
Steens Draba is endemic to the Steens Mt. Other varieties of Draba cusickii may be found on high summits from the Steens Mt. east to Wyoming and Utah.