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wavy bitter-cress, wood bitter-cress, woodland bitter-cress

Habit Annuals or biennials; sparsely to densely hirsute basally or throughout, or glabrous.



erect, ascending, or decumbent, branched or unbranched, (0.6–)1–5 dm, (slightly flexuous).

Basal leaves

(often withered by anthesis), not rosulate, 5–15-foliolate, (2.7–)4–14(–19) cm, leaflets petiolulate;

petiole 0.7–5 cm, (ciliate or not);

lateral leaflet blade oblong, ovate, or elliptic, smaller than terminal, margins entire, repand, crenate, or 3 (or 5)-lobed;

terminal leaflet (petiolule 0.3–1.7 cm), blade reniform, broadly ovate, or suborbicular, 0.5–2.5 cm × 4–30 mm, margins repand, crenate, or 3 or 5-lobed.

Cauline leaves

3–15, 5–15-foliolate [leaves (2–)3.5–5.5(–7) cm, including petiole], petiolate, leaflets petiolulate;

petiole base not auriculate;

lateral leaflets similar to basal, (0.4–2.5 mm wide).




sepals oblong, 1.5–2.5 × 0.7–1 mm, lateral pair not saccate basally;

petals white, spatulate, 2.5–4(–5) × 1–1.7 mm; (stamens rarely 4, lateral pair absent);

filaments 2–3 mm;

anthers ovate, 0.3–0.5 mm.

Fruiting pedicels

divaricate or ascending, (5–)6–14(–17) mm.


linear, (torulose), (0.8–)1.2–2.8 cm × 1–1.5 mm;

ovules 18–40 per ovary;

style 0.3–1(–1.5) mm.


brown, oblong or subquadrate, 0.9–1.5 × 0.6–1 mm, (narrowly margined or not).


= 32.

Cardamine flexuosa

Phenology Flowering Apr–Jul.
Habitat Disturbed areas, fields, nurseries, plantations, gardens, flower beds, lawns, roadsides
Elevation 0-1100 m (0-3600 ft)
from FNA
AL; CA; FL; GA; IL; IN; LA; MD; MI; NC; NY; OH; OR; RI; TX; VA; WA; BC; NF; ON; Europe; e Asia [Introduced in North America; introduced also in Mexico, Central America, South America, Australia]
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[BONAP county map]

According to J. Lihová et al. (2006), the populations referred to Cardamine flexuosa in North America comprise two taxa of different polyploid origins and evolutionary histories: tetraploid C. flexuosa (2n = 32), native to Europe, and the octoploid taxon informally called “Asian C. flexuosa” (2n = 64), native to eastern Asia. For the latter, the name C. flexuosa subsp. debilis can be used. Nevertheless, these two taxa should be recognized at species level and the correct name for the Asian species should be sought. Based on available data, both taxa occupy the same habitats in North America, but the Asian taxon is much more widespread. The occurrence of European C. flexuosa was, until now, confirmed only for Washington, where both taxa have been recorded. More detailed studies of the North American distributions of both these weeds are needed.

(Discussion copyrighted by Flora of North America; reprinted with permission.)

Source FNA vol. 7, p. 474.
Parent taxa Brassicaceae > tribe Cardamineae > Cardamine
Sibling taxa
C. angulata, C. angustata, C. bellidifolia, C. blaisdellii, C. breweri, C. bulbosa, C. californica, C. clematitis, C. concatenata, C. constancei, C. cordifolia, C. digitata, C. diphylla, C. dissecta, C. douglassii, C. flagellifera, C. hirsuta, C. holmgrenii, C. impatiens, C. longii, C. macrocarpa, C. maxima, C. micranthera, C. microphylla, C. nuttallii, C. nymanii, C. occidentalis, C. oligosperma, C. pachystigma, C. parviflora, C. pattersonii, C. penduliflora, C. pensylvanica, C. pratensis, C. purpurea, C. rotundifolia, C. rupicola, C. umbellata
Synonyms C. flexuosa subsp. debilis, C. flexuosa var. debilis, C. hirsuta subsp. flexuosa, C. scutata subsp. flexuosa
Name authority Withering: Arr. Brit. Pl. ed. 3, 3: 578. (1796)
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