Cardamine pensylvanica Muhl. ex Willd. - Pennsylvania Bitter-cress


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Cardamine pensylvanica - (image 1 of 5)



Family: Brassicaceae


Wet woods and swamps.




Newfoundland and Quebec west to MN and British Columbia, south to FL and CA.


Herbaceous annual or biennial to 60 cm; stems erect or spreading, usually hispidulous at least below, rarely glabrous. Terminal leaflet of of basal leaves obovate to orbicular, to 2 cm wide; cauline leaves typically 4-8 cm, the terminal segment cuneate-obovate, the lateral of shallower, smaller lobes. Flowers on ascending pedicels; petals white, to 4 mm. Fruit ascending, 2-3 cm, the style forming a beak 0.5-2 mm.


Flowers late April to June, sporadically into the fall

Wetland indicator: Obligate

Edible. Similar to watercress. Smaller plants found in drier habitats begin to resemble C. parviflora L.


Gleason, Henry A. and A. Cronquist. 1991. Manual of Vascular Plants of Northeastern United States and Adjacent Canada. Second Ed.
The New York Botanical Garden. Bronx, NY

Peterson, L. A. 1977. A Field Guide to Edible Wild Plants: Eastern and central North America
Houghton Mifflin Company. New York, NY

Swink, F. and G. Wilhelm. 1994. Plants of the Chicago Region. Indiana Academy of Science.
The Morton Arboretum. Lisle, Illinois.

USDA, NRCS. 2002. The PLANTS Database, Version 3.5 (
National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-4490 USA.



 Michael Hough 2004