Cardamine spp. (bittercress)


A Greek name (Kardamon) used by Dioscorides for some cress. See also: 1, 2, 3.

Distribution of Cardamine

USDA Plant site: U.S. 40 species; Iowa 6 species.

BONAP site: U.S. 44 species; Iowa 7 species.

VPI site: Iowa 4 species.

Cardamine charactistics

FNA site: A few selected features from FNA: sepals (caducous), petals (rarely absent), white, pink, purple, or lilac,obovate, spatulate, or oblanceolate, claw absent or strongly differentiated from blade, stamens (6, rarely 4), equal in length?; nectar glands confluent, lateral glands annular or semi-annular, subtending bases of stamens. Fruits siliques, sessile,usually linear, rarely narrowly oblong or narrowly lanceolate, smooth or torulose, latiseptate; valves (papery, elasticallydehiscent, becoming spirally or circinately coiled) each not veined; septum complete, (membranous); ovules 4-80 per ovary; style usually distinct, rarely obsolete; stigma capitate.

The Cardamine species you are most likely to encounter in Iowa are:

Cardamine bulbosa (bulbous bittercress, spring cress)

Cardamine concatenata (cutleaf toothwort)
[syn. Dentaria laciniata]

Cardamine douglassii (purple cress)

Cardamine parviflora (small-flowered bitter cress)

Cardamine pensylvanica (Pennsylvania bittercress)