Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Forkleaf Toothwort - Cardamine dissecta   (Leavenworth) Al-Shehbaz
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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Author(Leavenworth) Al-Shehbaz
DistributionStrictly in the Piedmont, and essentially only in the central portions, from Guilford County south to Anson, Union, and Mecklenburg counties. The Rutherford County report is a sighting only, and thus it is difficult to be sure it is part of the true range.

This species is primarily based west of the Appalachians, from OH and IN south to AL, but it is disjunct east of the Mountains to southern VA, central NC, and northwestern SC.
AbundanceRare to locally uncommon in the central Piedmont, very rare and in need of documentation farther east and west. This is a State Special Concern species.
HabitatThis species grows in rich hardwood forests, generally in circumneutral soil of Basic Mesic Forests, and adjacent rich bottomlands.
See also Habitat Account for Rich Wet-Mesic Hardwood Forests
PhenologyBlooms in March and April, and fruits from April to May; it withers from the surface after fruiting.
IdentificationThis is the most slender of all of the Cardamine species, growing only to about 6-10 inches tall and with generally just 2 stem leaves, opposite each other. These are mainly three-parted, and deeply cut into very narrow, linear segments, often 5-6 or more such segments. Each segment can be 2-3 inches long and barely 1/8-inch wide. Similar highly dissected basal leaves can be present at flowering. The flower cluster at the top of the stem is essentially like those of C. angustata and C. concatenata -- a handful of white flowers in bloom at the same time, each with 4 white petals and a spread close to 2/3-inch across. It is most similar to C. concatenata, but its leaflets are more finger-like, usually three obvious segments with strongly serrated margins.
Taxonomic CommentsRAB (1968) and a number of other older references listed it as a variety of C. angustata, named as C. angustata var. multifida. More recent references have moved it to a full species. Older references named these species as Dentaria, rather than Cardamine.

Other Common Name(s)Dissected Toothwort, Thread-leaf Toothwort, Fineleaf Toothwort
State RankS2
Global RankG4?
State StatusSC-V
US Status
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B.A. SorrieAnson County, 2008, rich mesic slope below Blewett Falls. AnsonPhoto_natural

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