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Cardamine concatenata is often confused with:
Cardamine diphylla Cardamine diphylla
Plants that fill a similar niche:
Viola hastata Viola hastata
Viola pubescens Form
Trillium luteum Flowers with mottled bracts

Cut-leafed Toothwort Cardamine concatenata

Other Common Name(s):

Previously known as:

  • Cardamine laciniata
  • Dentaria concatenata Michx.
  • Dentaria laciniata
  • Dentaria laciniata var. coalescens
  • Dentaria laciniata var. integra
Phonetic Spelling
den-TAY-ree-uh la-sin-ee-AH-ta
Description

The Cut-leafed Toothwort or Pepper Root is a native perennial wildflower found in the woodlands of eastern Canada and the central and eastern United States. It typically grows in rich soil that is moist and well-drained. They can tolerate some seasonal flooding. They are a light leafy autumn and winter ground cover. Their small white flowers emerge in the spring before the deciduous trees have leafed out. The plant is dormant in the summer. 

It is a member of the Brassicaceae or mustard family. The genus, Cardamine, is Greek for "Kardamon" and translated means "cress." The species name, concatenata, is Latin and translated means "linked together in a chain." The rhizomes of this plant are oblong, fleshy, and jointed. They appear to link like a string of beads. The common name, Pepper Root, refers to its spicy and radish flavor of the rhizomes. The name, Cut-leafed Toothwort, refers to its toothlike projections it's underground stems.

This plant produces basal leaves and fertile shoots. The basal leaves help to store energy for the next year's fertile shoots. The fertile shoot is made of a single flower and stalk which has a whorl of 3 leaves. The leaves are deeply cut into three lobes. The flowers appear as terminal clusters of four cross-shaped petals blooming atop the stem. Long, slender, green pods appear. They open in 4-5 weeks and release 10-14 small seeds. 

The Cut-leafed Toothwort is propagated via seed or rhizomes. The seeds lose viability quickly when stored. It is best to sow the seeds immediately after collection. Seedlings bloom in 3-4 years. The rhizomes are fragile, and it is best to divide them when the plant is dormant

The plant is typically disease and pest free. It is a good food source for the White-footed mouse as well as the caterpillar of the Mustard White and the West Virginia White butterfly. The flower provides nectar for honeybees and bumblebees.

The Cut-leafed Toothwort combines well in perennial or woodland gardens to provide early spring interest. When the plant goes dormant in the summer other perennials will step in to cover for the toothwort.  The plant would add interest to any informal or cottage gardens.

The Two-leafed Toothwort is similar to the Cut-leafed Toothwort. The Two-leafed Toothwort has only two leaves on its stalk instead of 3 whorled leaves.

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#perennial#food source#rock gardens#borders#wildflower garden#early spring flowers#larval host plant#woodlands#dormant summer
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#perennial#food source#rock gardens#borders#wildflower garden#early spring flowers#larval host plant#woodlands#dormant summer
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Cardamine
    Species:
    concatenata
    Family:
    Brassicaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    The Iroquois Indians used this plant for food and ate the roots either raw or boiled. The plant was also used for medical treatment, including heart conditions, colds, headaches, and stomach pains.
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Division
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    East Canada, Central and Eastern United States
    Distribution:
    Canada--Ontario and Quebec; United States--AL, AR, CT, DE, DC, FL, GA, IL, IN, IA, KS, KY, LA, MA, ME, MD, MI, MN, MO, MS, NE, NH, NJ, NC, NY, OH, PA, SC, TN, TX, VA, VT, WI, WV
    Wildlife Value:
    The plant is a food source for the white-footed mouse. The nectar of the flowers attracts honey bees and bumblebees. Some early butterflies may also be attracted to the flower for its nectar. The caterpillars of the Mustard White and the West Virginia White butterfly use the foliage as a food source.
    Edibility:
    The roots of the plant are spicy and have a radish flavor. They may be sliced and used in salads.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 0 ft. 6 in. - 1 ft. 3 in.
    Width: 0 ft. 6 in. - 1 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Perennial
    Wildflower
    Habit/Form:
    Erect
    Growth Rate:
    Slow
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Dappled Sunlight (Shade through upper canopy all day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    High Organic Matter
    Soil pH:
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Available Space To Plant:
    Less than 12 inches
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    3a, 3b, 4a, 4b, 5b, 5a, 6b, 6a, 7a, 7b, 8b, 8a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Green
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Spring
    Fruit Type:
    Siliqua
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    After flowering, erect, elongated, pod-like siliques and are about 1 inch long. The pod splits open about 4-5 weeks after blooming. Each siliqua contains 10-14 small, brown, flat, ovoid-shaped seeds.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Pink
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Raceme
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Flower Shape:
    Bell
    Cross
    Flower Petals:
    4-5 petals/rays
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    In the early spring, the flowers bloom as terminal clusters of four white cross-shaped petals atop the erect stem. Tinges of pink or lavender may be seen on the petals. They have 4 sepals and 6 stamens. The flower's diameter is 3/4 inch. Blooming typically occurs in early spring from March to May before the deciduous trees have leafed out. The blooming period is about 2 weeks.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Color:
    Gray/Silver
    Green
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Whorled
    Leaf Shape:
    Lanceolate
    Leaf Margin:
    Dentate
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Width:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Description:
    The plant has a rosette of basal leaves on the unbranched stem. In the middle of each stem, there is a whorl of three sharply toothed, lance-shaped leaves. Each leaf is about 3 inches long and wide. The leaves are grayish-green to medium green and deeply cleft into 3-5 narrow lobes. They have dentate teeth along the margins and appear nearly opposite of each other. The leaves turn yellow before the plant goes dormant during the summer.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Gray/Silver
    Green
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Form:
    Straight
    Stem Description:
    The erect stem rises directly from the rhizomes and is grayish-green to medium green in color. The stem is glabrous to slightly pubescent. The flower appears at the terminal end of the stem. The stem is unbranched and has a whorl of leaves just above the middle of the stem.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Naturalized Area
    Slope/Bank
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Rock Garden
    Design Feature:
    Border
    Attracts:
    Bees
    Butterflies
    Pollinators
    Specialized Bees