Page authors: Don Knoke, David Giblin
Cardamine nuttallii
beautiful bittercres, Nuttall's toothwort, slender toothwort

Distribution: Occurring on both sides of the Cascades crest in Washington; British Columbia to California.

Habitat: Seasonally moist soils of forest openings to forest understory, from low to moderate elevations.

Flowers: March-May

Origin: Native

Growth Duration: Perennial

Conservation Status: Not of concern

Pollination: Bees, flies


Glabrous to sparsely pubescent perennial from short, slender, fleshy rhizomes, the stems erect, 1-2 dm. tall.


Basal leaves long-petiolate, the blades orbicular to cordate, usually simple and scalloped, if deeply lobed the lobes entire; cauline leaves 1-3, grouped above mid-length on the stem, usually with 3-5 lanceolate, entire leaflets 1-4 cm. long.


Inflorescence of bractless, few-flowered racemes; pedicles ascending to erect, 1-2 cm. long; sepals 4, 3-5 mm. long, purplish, the outer pair saccate at the base; petals 4, pink to reddish or purplish, 9-14 mm. long; stamens 6; style slender, 3-6 mm. long.


Siliques linear, 1.5-5 cm. long and 1.5 mm. broad; seeds in 1 series.

Accepted Name:
Cardamine nuttallii Greene
Publication: Bull. Calif. Acad. Sci. 2: 389. 1887.

Synonyms & Misapplications:
Cardamine nuttallii Greene var. covilleana (O.E. Schulz) Rollins
Cardamine nuttallii Greene var. dissecta (O.E. Schulz) Rollins
Cardamine nuttallii Greene var. gemmata (Greene) Rollins [KZ99]
Cardamine nuttallii Greene var. nuttallii [Rollins 1993a]
Cardamine pulcherrima Greene [HC]
Cardamine pulcherrima Greene var. pulcherrima [HC]
Cardamine pulcherrima Greene var. tenella (Pursh) C.L. Hitchc. [HC]
Cardamine quercetorum Howell
Dentaria tenella Pursh var. pulcherrima (Greene) Detling [Peck]
Additional Resources:

PNW Herbaria: Specimen records of Cardamine nuttallii in the Consortium of Pacific Northwest Herbaria database.

WA Flora Checklist: Cardamine nuttallii checklist entry.

OregonFlora: Cardamine nuttallii information.

E-Flora BC: Cardamine nuttallii atlas page.

CalPhotos: Cardamine nuttallii photos.

USDA Plants: Cardamine nuttallii information.

59 photographs:
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