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Cutleaf Toothwort Cardamine concatenata (Dentaria laciniata)


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Cutleaf Toothwort
credit: Jason Sturmer 72/CCSA

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Family: Brassicaceae, Mustard view all from this family

Description Terminal clusters of white or pink flowers on an erect unbranched stem with deeply cleft leaves.
Habit: native annual or perennial herb; spring ephemeral; dormant by early summer; rhizomatous roots separated into bead-like segments; forms large colonies.
Height: 4-22 in (10-55 cm)
Leaf: whorled, long-stalked, deeply palmately divided into 3-5 toothed lanceolate lobes; at base withering before flowering; at mid-stem, in whorl of 3.
Flower: small, on long stalk, usually drooping, 0.5-0.75 in (6-18 mm) wide; with 4 white to pink petals; in loose terminal cluster.
Fruit: long thin pod, held upright, 1-2 in (2.5-5 cm) long, to 1/8 in (3 mm) wide.

Flower February to June, before deciduous trees are in leaf.

Flower April - May

Habitat Rich soil: wooded bottoms and bluffs, rich woods, limestone cliffs and outcrops, rocky banks, mesic forests, moist areas with leaf litter, floodplain woods; to 3300 ft (1000 m); also cultivated ornamentally.

Range Eastern and central North America, from Quebec south to Florida, west to Texas, north to North Dakota and Ontario.

Discussion Also known as pepper root, five-parted toothwort, slender toothwort. Endangered in Maine and New Hampshire.

Twoleaf Toothwort (C. diphylla, formerly Dentaria diphylla) has only two nearly opposite, deeply dissected stem leaves, each with three toothed lobes. Toothworts bloom in the spring; the common name refers to the tooth-like projections on the underground stems.

Comments A light, leafy wintercover is desireable.

Exposure Preference Shade.

Native Distribution Western Quebec to Minnesota & Nebraska, s. to Gulf Coast states & e. Kansas

Site Preference Rich woods; wooded bottomlands; rocky banks & bluffs

Soil Preference Rich, mesic to moist, soils. pH 6-7.