Yellow Rocket grows as a winter annual broadleaf weed, a biennial broadleaf weed and, in very rare situations, a perennial broadleaf weed. This highly adaptive plant is also referred to as Winter Cress, St. Barbara's Cress, Bitter Cress and Rocket Cress. Its scientific name is Barbarea vulgaris.
Yellow Rocket can be identified by its numerous stems branching from a basal rosette of deep-green glossy foliage. The leaves forming the basal rosette are smooth, glossy and thick, and the stem leaves have fewer and smaller lobes than the basal leaves. This broadleaf weed produces bright-yellow flowers that appear in early spring. However, only mature plants bloom because flowering stems are produced only in the second year. Reproduction occurs by seeds.
This broadleaf weed grows in lawns, gardens and along roadsides. It is also commonly sold in nurseries as a decorative plant. Preferring loamy soils, Yellow Rocket thrives throughout much of the continental United States, with the exception of a few of the southernmost areas.
Strong cultural practices, such as proper mowing and watering, can help prevent Barbarea vulgarisby creating dense grass, which inhibits this broadleaf weed's ability to grow. Physical removal (i.e., pulling weeds) can be effective, though you run the risk of spreading the seeds to additional areas of your lawn and landscaping.