The species are herbaceous, annual or perennial plants, growing to 10–80 cm tall, usually densely hairy, with simple entire to lobed leaves 1–6 cm long, and small white four-petalled flowers. The fruit is a long, slender capsule containing 10-20 or more seeds.
Though traditionally recognized as a large genus with many Old World and New World members, more recent evaluations of the relationships among these species using genetic data suggest there are two major groups within the old genus Arabis. These two groups are not each other's closest relatives, so have been split into two separate genera. Most of the Old World members remain in the genus Arabis, whereas most of the New World members have been moved into the genus Boechera, with only a few remaining in Arabis.
- Selected species
- Arabis aculeolata
- Arabis alpina (alpine rockcress)
- Arabis armena (Armenian rockcress)
- Arabis blepharophylla (coast rockcress)
- Arabis caucasica Willd.
- Arabis cypria
- Arabis glabra (tower mustard)
- Arabis hirsuta (hairy rockcress)
- Arabis kazbegi (Kazbegian rockcress)
- Arabis kennedyae
- Arabis lemmonii
- Arabis macdonaldiana
- Arabis procurrens (spreading rock cress)
- Arabis pycnocarpa (slender rock cress)
- Arabis serotina
- Sunset Western Garden Book, 1995:606–607
- Al-Shehbaz, Ihsan. Transfer of most North American species of Arabis to Boechera (Brassicaceae). Novon 13: 381-391 (2003)
- Al-Shehbaz, Ihsan. Nomenclatural Notes on Eurasian Arabis (Brassicaceae). Novon 15: 519-524 (2005)