Page authors: Don Knoke, David Giblin
Cardamine pensylvanica
Pennsylvania bittercress, quaker bittercress

Distribution: Widespread on both sides of the Cascades crest in Washington; British Columbia to California, east through the Rockies to the Atlantic Coast.

Habitat: Moist to wet soils, or on the margins of wet areas.

Flowers: April-July

Origin: Native

Growth Duration: Annual, Biennial, Perennial

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, linear or lanceolate to oblanceolate, 3-20 mm. long, entire, the terminal leaflet considerably larger, with a few rounded teeth; 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 0.7-1 mm. broad; seeds 24-40, in 1 series.

Accepted Name:
Cardamine pensylvanica Muhl. ex Willd.
Publication: Sp. Pl. 3: 486. 1801.

Synonyms & Misapplications:
Cardamine flexuosa With. ssp. pensylvanica (Muhl. ex Willd.) O.E. Schulz
Cardamine hirsuta L. var. pensylvanica (Muhl. ex Willd.) P.W. Graff
Dracamine pensylvanica (Muhl. ex Willd.) Nieuwl.
Additional Resources:

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

WA Flora Checklist: Cardamine pensylvanica checklist entry.

OregonFlora: Cardamine pensylvanica information.

E-Flora BC: Cardamine pensylvanica atlas page.

CalPhotos: Cardamine pensylvanica photos.

USDA Plants: Cardamine pensylvanica information.

29 photographs:
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