• 0.5-2 ft. tall; branched near top; covered with short hairs
Photo of hoary cress stem


  • Alternate, 1-4 in. long, blue-green, oblong to lance-shaped and covered with short hairs; edges (margins) are toothed to smooth
  • Lower leaves have short leaf stems (petioles); bases of upper leaves have lobes that clasp the stem 
Photo of hoary cress plant with green leaves



  • White with 4 petals; occur in clusters that give plant a flat-topped appearance; occur from spring to early-summer
  • Seed pods are oval to heart-shaped; each contain 2 seeds
Photo of hoary cress plant with white flowers on top


  • Deep, spreading root system
Photo of hoary cress infestation next to a lake



  • Grows best in disturbed, alkaline soils; often found in pastures, fields, roadsides, rangelands, waste areas and along waterways; known to occur throughout Nevada 
  • Perennial; reproduces through roots and seeds
  • Also known as whitetop; 3 species occur in Nevada: hoary cress (C. draba) is most common but lens-podded whitetop (C. chalapensis) and hairy whitetop (C. pubescens) also occur


  • Dig or pull individual plants for small infestations; remaining roots can produce new plants; frequent tillage or mowing for several years can reduce plant density
  • Apply 2,4-D to actively growing plants prior to bud stage; chlorsulfuron or metsulfuron from bud to early bloom; imazapic from full bloom until necrosis
Blecker, L., Creech, E., Dick, J., Gephart, S., Hefner, M., Kratsch, H., Moe, A., Schultz, B. 2020, Nevada Noxious Weed Field Guide – Hoary cress, Extension, University of Nevada, Reno, Field Guide

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Also of Interest:

Paradise Valley Weed Control Demonstration Plots: Hoary Cress
Noxious weeds are species considered detrimental or destructive, and difficult to control or eradicate. In Nevada, noxious weeds are prohibited in commerce, and state law mandates their control or management.
Schultz, B. 2005, University of Nevada Cooperative Extension
Nevada’s Priority Agricultural Weeds: Hoary Cress
Plants commonly referred to as hoary cress (Cardaria sp.), or short whitetop, are one of three different but closely related perennial forbs. The Cardaria species are widespread across all eleven Western states, including every county in Nevada.
B. Schultz, S. Foster 2021, Extension, University of Nevada, Reno, SP-21-03

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