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Arabidopsis thaliana (thale cress)

Thale cress hit the headlines in 2000, when this small garden weed became the first plant to have its genome sequenced.
 Composite SEM image of dissected inflorescence of Arabidopsis thaliana

Composite SEM image of dissected inflorescence of Arabidopsis thaliana, with different organs artificially coloured: pale green = perianth (sepals and petals); yellow = stamens; red = ovary.

Species information

Common name: 

thale cress, mouse ear cress

Conservation status: 

This species is common and widespread. It is not threatened and therefore rated by the IUCN as Not Evaluated (NE).


A pioneer of rocky ground, dunes, open sandy and calcareous habitats; also found in a wide range of disturbed habitats, including as a weed of gardens, waste ground and along railway lines.

Key Uses: 

Model in plant genetic studies.

Known hazards: 

None known.


Genus: Arabidopsis

About this species

Arabidopsis thaliana was the first plant to have its entire genome sequenced (in 2000), and is widely used in molecular and developmental biology as the archetypal angiosperm (flowering plant) model organism. The haploid chromosome number of A. thaliana is unusually small (n=5). The great wealth of different types of comparative data that have been compiled about this inconspicuous little plant make it immensely significant in every aspect of plant biology.


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