Page authors: Don Knoke, David Giblin
Cardamine nuttallii
beautiful bittercress, 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 californica (Nutt.) Greene var. gemmata (Greene) O.E. Schulz
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.

61 photographs:
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