Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Small-anthered Bittercress - Cardamine micranthera   Rollins
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Section 6 » Order Capparales » Family Brassicaceae
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AuthorRollins
DistributionHighly restricted to creeksides in Stokes County, and formerly in Forsyth County.

This has one of the most restricted global range of any species found in NC, as it is known only in Stokes County and in adjacent Patrick County, VA.
AbundanceUncommon along the Dan River and some tributaries, but absent elsewhere in the state. This is a Federal and State Endangered species. Despite its tiny range, it occurs in enough small populations in these two counties that it has a Global Rank of G2 instead of G1.
HabitatThis species has a very limited habitat within Stokes County. It occurs in linear fashion, on sand and gravel bars along creeks, rarely in swampy woods nearby or in seepages over rocks.
PhenologyBlooms in April and May, and fruits from May to June.
IdentificationThis species is slender and mostly erect, growing to about 1' tall. It is often branched from the base. It has a handful of alternate stem leaves, each being simple and undivided into segments, somewhat rounded but with irregular margins, about 2/3" long, though occasionally the lower and middle ones can have 1-2 pairs of very small side lobes. The flower cluster at the end of a branch has a few flowers, in bloom at the same time, with 4 white petals. The spread flower is rather small, about 1/3" across or long. The most similar species is C. rotundifolia, which is mat-forming with mostly trailing stems. It has much larger flowers (usually more than 1/2" across), plus the middle and upper stem leaves are cordate and often clasping around the stem. To see C. micranthera in NC, you will have to travel to Stokes County and poke around some creeksides, though nearly all lands along these creeks or the Dan River within its range are in private ownership.
Taxonomic CommentsNone

Other Common Name(s)Streambank Bittercress
State RankS1
Global RankG2
State StatusE
US StatusLE
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