Cardamine concatenata (Michx.) O. Schwarz

Cut-Leaved Toothwort

Cardamine concatenata plant

Family - Brassicaceae

Habit - Perennial forb with elongate rhizomes consisting of thickened, beadlike, tuberous portions connected by thinner, threadlike portions.

Stems - Weakly ascending to erect, to 40 cm, glabrous at base, pubescent with spreading hairs in upper portions.

Leaves - Basal leaves usually absent on flowering plants, 13-30 cm long, long-petiolate, the blades trifoliate, the central leaflet sometimes divided or lobed into 3 divisions, the lateral leaflets sometimes unevenly 2-lobed; the leaflets 2.5-10.0 cm long, linear to oblanceolate or lanceolate, glabrous or sometimes with minute, spreading, marginal hairs, the margins sharply and usually coarsely toothed to irregularly incised, rarely nearly entire. Stem leaves 2-3 per stem in a single whorl or alternate, 3-5 palmately lobed, 4-12 cm long, short-petiolate, the lobes linear to oblanceolate or lanceolate, glabrous or sometimes with minute, spreading, marginal hairs, the margins sharply and usually coarsely toothed to irregularly incised, rarely nearly entire. Teeth of lobes mucronate (minutely). Petioles glabrous to pubescent.

Cardamine concatenata leafPressed leaf.

Inflorescence - Terminal raceme, compact early but quickly elongating, the axis pubescent. Flower pedicels 1 cm, elongated in fruit, pubescent to glabrous.

Cardamine concatenata inflorescence2Inflorescence.

Flowers - Sepals 4, 5-10 mm long, oblong, green, sometimes pinkish-tinged, the margins usually pale, glabrous. Petals 4, 10-20 mm long, white to light pink, glabrous, rounded at apex. Stamens 6, filaments 8 mm long, anthers yellow. Style erect, 5-8 mm long. Ovary terete, longer than broad. Stigma globose.

Cardamine concatenata calyxCalyx.

Cardamine concatenata flowersFlowers.

Cardamine concatenata flowerFlower detail.

Fruits - Siliques 20-40 mm long, terete, glabrous. Seeds 1.9-2.7 mm long, broadly oblong to ovate in outline, the surface with a reticulate pattern of ridges and pits, orange to greenish orange.

Cardamine concatenata fruitsFruits.

Flowering - March - May.

Habitat - Low woods, slopes, ravines.

Origin - Native to U.S.

Lookalikes - None close. Flowers are similar to Cardamine bulbosa but the leaves are completely different.

Other info. - This familiar member of the springtime flora is common across Missouri and throughout the eastern half of the continental U.S. It is absent in western states. It is easy to recognize by its large, 4-petaled white flowers and deeply lobed leaves with toothed leaflets. The flowers are larger than those of most other species in the genus.

A previously used synonym is Dentaria laciniata. That genus name was derived from the Latin "dente," which means "tooth." Apparently this epithet refers to the scales of the rhizomes and roots rather than the toothed leaves.

Photographs taken at Rock Hill Park, Boone County, MO., and at Eagle Bluffs Conservation Area, Boone County, MO., 3-27-04 (DETenaglia); also at Washington State Park, Washington County, MO, 4-8-2011, Silver Mines Recreation Area, Madison County, MO, 3-19-2012, and Young Conservation Area, Jefferson County, MO, 5-7-2018 (SRTurner).


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