Cardamine oligosperma
few-seeded bittercress, little western bittercress

Distribution: Occurring on both sides of the Cascades crest in Washington, but more common west of the crest; Alaska to California, east to the Rocky Mountains.

Habitat: Widespread, but mostly in seasonally wet, open or forested areas.

Flowers: March-July

Origin: Native

Growth Duration: Annual, Biennial

Conservation Status: Not of concern


Annual or biennial herb from a taproot, the 1-several stems 1-4 dm. tall, usually freely-branched, sub-glabrous or with short, stiff hairs.


Leaves alternate, numerous, basal and cauline, pinnate, the lateral leaflets 4-10, obovate to ovate or sub-orbicular, 3-20 mm. long, entire or with a few rounded teeth or lobes, the terminal leaflet considerably larger; all pubescent as the stem.


Inflorescence of several-flowered racemes, usually bractless, but sometimes the lower flowers bracteate; pedicles 5-15 mm. long, ascending-erect; sepals 4, 1-2 mm. long, the outer pair saccate at the base; petals 4, white, 2-4 mm. long; stamens 6; style under 0.5 mm. long.


Siliques linear, erect, 1.5-2.5 cm. long and 1.2-1.5 mm. broad; seeds 15-22, in 1 series.

Accepted Name:
Cardamine oligosperma Nutt.
Publication: Fl. N. Amer. 1: 85. 1838.

Synonyms & Misapplications:
Cardamine oligosperma Nutt. var. oligosperma [HC]
Additional Resources:

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

WA Flora Checklist: Cardamine oligosperma checklist entry.

OregonFlora: Cardamine oligosperma information.

E-Flora BC: Cardamine oligosperma atlas page.

CalPhotos: Cardamine oligosperma photos.

USDA Plants: Cardamine oligosperma information.

18 photographs:
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