Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Slender Toothwort - Cardamine angustata   O.E. Schulz
Members of Brassicaceae:
Members of Cardamine with account distribution info or public map:
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Section 6 » Order Capparales » Family Brassicaceae
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AuthorO.E. Schulz
DistributionPresent throughout the eastern half of the Piedmont, but only spottily distributed in the western Piedmont and Mountains (only three counties in the Mountains). Not known from the Coastal Plain, not even along brownwater rivers there.

This is an Eastern species, ranging from NJ west to IN, and south to AL and eastern OK. It is surprising from the BONAP map why the species is so scarce in the western Piedmont and Mountains of NC.
AbundanceFrequent to locally common in the northeastern 45% of the Piedmont; rare to locally uncommon in the western parts of the Piedmont, and in the extreme southern Piedmont counties. Very rare in the Mountains.
HabitatThis species grows on rich, but somewhat acidic, soils, of lower hardwood slopes and bottomland forests. It is most numerous in Mesic Mixed Hardwood Forests in uplands, whereas the similar C. concatenata grows in the more circumneutral soils and more typical of Basic Mesic Forests. The two could grow together on the same slopes and bottomlands, but normally they grow separately.
PhenologyBlooms from March to April, and fruits from April to May, after which the plants wither and are no longer visible above ground.
IdentificationThis species has an erect stem to about 9-12 inches tall, with distinctly different basal and stem leaves. It has several trifoliate basal leaves, with each leaflet serrate and somewhat indented, and a blade about 1-1.5 inches long and 2/3rd as wide. Stem leaves are few and smaller, also trifoliate, but have very narrow lobes that not toothed, looking like 3 small fingers. The flower cluster at the top of the stem contains a handful of moderate-sized flowers, each with 4 white (to rarely pink) petals and a spread of about 1/2-inch across -- quite attractive when several are in bloom together. Thankfully, the species typically grows in sizable groups of plants. The species is most similar to the mainly montane C. diphylla, which has much larger and broader/wider leaflets on the stem leaves, such that stem leaves look fairly similar to the basal leaves. C. concatenata has no basal leaves at flowering, and the stem leaves have the leaflets larger and strongly toothed. In much of the northeastern Piedmont of the state, this is one of the more numerous of the spring wildflowers of rich wooded slopes.
Taxonomic CommentsSome old references placed this and some other toothworts into the genus Dentaria, but essentially all references now use Cardamine. However, many references used heterophylla as the scientific epithet name.

Other Common Name(s)None
State RankS4
Global RankG5
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B.A. SorrieTerrace of Goose Creek E of US 601. 1 Apr 2011. UnionPhoto_natural
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