Cardamine bulbosa (Schreb.) BSP. - Spring Cress

Cardamine bulbosa plant

Family - Brassicaceae

Stems - Erect, herbaceous, from a knobby caudex and fibrous roots, glabrous to sparse hispidulous, green apically, purplish near the base, branching above or simple, to +40cm tall.

Cardamine bulbosa stem

Leaves - Alternate. Basal leaves petiolate, typically purplish abaxially. Petioles to +7cm long. Blades ovate, glabrous, with undulate margins, tapering at the base or truncate, to 5cm long, 2.5-3cm broad. Cauline leaves becoming sessile or short petiolate, with a few coarse teeth or entire, lanceolate to oblong-lanceolate.

Cardamine bulbosa leaves

Inflorescence - Terminal racemes, compact in flower, elongating in fruit. Pedicels glabrous, to 1.8cm long.

Cardamine bulbosa inflorescence

Flowers - Petals 4, tapering to the base, to +1.2cm long, 4-5mm broad, white, glabrous, rounded at the apex. Stamens 6, erect. Filaments white, 5-6mm long. Anthers 1.3mm long, pale yellow. Ovary terete, 5mm long, glabrous, yellow-green. Style 1.2mm long. Stigma capitate. Sepals 4, to 4mm long, 1.5mm broad, green, glabrous, with slightly involute margins, oblong-lanceolate, with scarious margins, erect.

Cardamine bulbosa flowerFlower close-up.

Cardamine bulbosa calyxCalyx close-up.

Flowering - March - June.

Habitat - Low wet woods, spring branches, wet meadows, pond margins, moist ledges of bluffs.

Origin - Native to U.S.

Other info. - This species can be found basically in the southeastern 1/2 of Missouri. The plant likes to be in or near water and is easily identified by its rather large white flowers.
Traditionally the leaves of this species were eaten in salads and add a sharp peppery taste, much like fresh cabbage.

Photographs taken at Whetstone Conservation Area, Callaway County, MO., 4-28-04.


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