Cardamine bulbosa (Schreb. ex Muhl.) Britton, Sterns & Poggenb.



CC = 7
CW = -5
MOC = 62

© SRTurner

Family - Brassicaceae

Habit - Perennial forb, occasionally emergent aquatic, with short, tuberous rhizomes, these unsegmented or occasionally irregularly constricted into 2 or 3 segments.

Stems - Erect, to 60 cm, usually glabrous, occasionally with sparse, minute hairs in the apical half, green apically, purplish near the base, simple or branched above.

Cardamine_bulbosa_stem.jpg Stem.

© DETenaglia

Cardamine_bulbosa_stem2.jpg Stem and leaves.

© SRTurner

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

Cardamine_bulbosa_leaf1.jpg Leaf adaxial.

© SRTurner

Cardamine_bulbosa_leaf2.jpg Leaf abaxial.

© SRTurner

Cardamine_bulbosa_leaves.jpg Pressed leaves.

© DETenaglia

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

Cardamine_bulbosa_inflorescence.jpg Inflorescence.

© DETenaglia

Flowers - Sepals 4, 2.5-5.0 mm long, greenish yellow, glabrous, erect. Petals 4, 7-12 mm long, tapering to the base, rounded at apex, white, sometimes faintly pinkish-tinged, glabrous. Stamens 6, erect, 4 longer and 2 shorter. Filaments white, 5-6 mm long. Anthers 1.3 mm long, pale yellow. Ovary terete, 5 mm long, glabrous, yellow-green. Style 1.2 mm long. Stigma capitate.

Cardamine_bulbosa_flowers.jpg Flowers.

© SRTurner

Cardamine_bulbosa_calyx.jpg Calyx.

© DETenaglia

Cardamine_bulbosa_flower2.jpg Flower.

© SRTurner

Fruits - Siliques 20-30 mm long, sometimes aborting before maturity. Seeds 1.7-2.1 mm long, irregularly oblong to circular in outline, the surface slightly roughened, orange to greenish yellow.

Cardamine_bulbosa_fruits.jpg Fruits.

© SRTurner

Cardamine_bulbosa_fruit2.jpg Immature fruit.

© SRTurner

Flowering - March - June.

Habitat - Spring branches, wet meadows, pond margins, fens, bottomland forests, moist ledges of bluffs.

Origin - Native to the U.S.

Lookalikes - None close. Flowers are similar to those of Cardamine concatenata but the leaves are completely different.

Other info. - This species can be found across most of Missouri, but is more common in the southern part of the state. It is fairly common in the eastern half of the continental U.S., but absent from the west. The plant likes to be in or near water and is easily identified by its rather large, 4-petaled white flowers. A closely related plant, C. douglassii, occurs in the northeast corner of the state, and is differentiated by having pink to purple petals. According to Yatskievych, the distinctness of this plant as a discrete species has been questioned.

Traditionally the leaves of this species were eaten in salads and add a sharp peppery taste reminiscent of horseradish. The plant is often associated with calcareous substrates. The specific epithet "bulbosa" refers to the bulbous corms.

Photographs taken at Whetstone Conservation Area, Callaway County, MO., 4-28-04 (DETenaglia); also at Canaan Conservation Area, Gasconade County, MO, 5-16-2013 and 5-6-2014, Millstream Gardens Conservation Area, Madison County, MO, 4-28-2020, and Niangua Natural Area, Dallas County, MO, 4-22-2023 (SRTurner).