A genus of small cruciferous herbs, widespread in temperate Eurasia and North America, and found especially in dry, sandy, stony, or saline habitats. Also (also in form arabidopsis): a plant of this genus; (in later use) especially thale cress, Arabidopsis thaliana, which has simple leaves and white flowers, and is used widely in studies of plant genetics.
The simple structure, relatively small genome size, and short generation time of A. thaliana have led to its becoming established as a model species for research into plant molecular biology and genetics. In December 2000, an international collaboration, the Arabidopsis Genome Initiative, announced the completion of a project to systematically sequence the entire genome of A. thaliana, the first plant species for which this had been achieved.
Mid 19th century. From scientific Latin Arabidopsis (A. P. de CandolleRegni vegetabilis systema naturale II. 480; adopted as a genus name by G. Heynhold in F. Holl & G. HeynholdFlora von Sachsen I. 538) from Arabis, genus name + -d- (after Latin nouns in -id-, -is; compare -id) + ancient Greek ὄψις appearance.