Dentaria laciniata Muhl. - Rydberg

Dentaria laciniata plant

Family - Brassicaceae

Stems - To +20cm tall, erect, herbaceous, glabrous or pubescent in upper portions, from thick rhizomes.

Leaves - Two or three per plant, alternate, 3-5 palmately lobed, variable. Lobes linear-lanceolate, coarsely toothed (laciniate) to entire, glabrous, 6cm long, 1cm broad. Teeth of lobes mucronate (minutely). Petioles glabrous to pubescent.

Dentaria laciniata plant

Inflorescence - Terminal raceme, compact early but quickly elongating, axis short hirsute, pedicels +/-1cm, elongated in fruit, pubescent to glabrous.

Dentaria laciniata inflorescence

Flowers - Petals 4, whitish with a hint of pink, 5mm broad, 1.6cm long, ligulate, glabrous, rounded at the apex, attenuate at the base. Stamens 6, filaments 8mm long, anthers yellow. Style erect, 7mm long. Ovary terete, longer than broad. Stigma globose. Sepals 4, oblong, brownish-green with lighter margins, entire, glabrous, to 3mm long. Fruits terete, 2-5cm long, +/-2mm in diameter, glabrous.

Dentaria laciniata flowerFlower...

Dentaria laciniata flower...close-up.

Dentaria laciniata calyxCalyx.

Flowering - March - May.

Habitat - Low woods, slopes, ravines.

Origin - Native to U.S.

Other info. - This is an interesting little member of the Brassicaceae which is found in woodland habitats. It is a characteristic spring woodland plant in Missouri. The flowers are larger than those of most genera in the same family. This species is highly variable, especially the leaves. The large flowers and 3-5-lobed leaves are the characteristics to look for when trying to ID this plant.
The genus name comes from the Latin "dens" which means "tooth", not for the toothed leaves, but rather for the scales of the rhizomes and roots.
A synonym is Cardamine concatenata (Michx.) O. Schwarz.

Photographs taken at Rock Hill Park, Boone County, MO., and at Eagle Bluffs Conservation Area, Boone County, MO., 3-27-04.