Chorispora tenella

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In North America, Chorispora tenella flowers between April and June. See a sea of pale blue-purple flowers and smell something a little musky? It could be all around you! Consider collecting a sample and sending it to me! I can probably even cover shipping. Here’s a field collection protocol.

Crossflower has both an important ecological and economic impact in North America, and an under-appreciated role in the evolution and phylogeny of the Brassicaceae. From among ~3500 plant species identified by the Weed Science Society of America as ecologically or agriculturally problematic in the US (WSSA, 2010), Chorispora tenella is the only species that meets all of the following criteria: 1) introduced, 2) small genome (i.e.1C value < 400 Mbp); 3) significant ecological or agricultural impact; 4) not a major crop, to avoid interbreeding with domesticated genotypes; 5) has a significant number (i.e. >500) of herbarium specimens collected in North America, based on digitized collection information (this will be an underestimate of true herbarium holdings); 6) diploid, to efficiently use sequencing resources; 7) out-crossing annual or biennial, for a higher likelihood of recombination events to occur in a very short period of time; 8) introduced within the last 200 years, during a time when it could have been collected by botanists throughout its invasion; 9) significant genomic resources available for this or closely related species (data sources: Bennett & Leitch, 2012; EOL, 2014; GBIF, 2014; Kuester et al., 2014; USDA, 2014). Introduced to North America in the early 1900s, crossflower is native to southern Russia and southwestern Asia (Swan, 1971), and now occurs in 31 states and 3 Canadian provinces (USDA, 2014).