spring cress

(Cardamine bulbosa)

Conservation Status
spring cress
Photo by Wayne Rasmussen
  IUCN Red List

not listed

     
  NatureServe

NNR - Unranked

SNR - Unranked

     
  Minnesota

not listed

     
           
Wetland Indicator Status
     
  Great Plains

OBL - Obligate wetland

     
  Midwest

OBL - Obligate wetland

     
  Northcentral & Northeast

OBL - Obligate wetland

     
           
 
Description
 
 

Spring cress is a 10 to 40 tall, erect, perennial forb that rises on 1 or more stems from a knobby caudex and fibrous roots that produce small tubers.

The stems are erect, hairless, green, purplish at the base, and unbranched or branched near the top.

Basal leaves are oval to round, 1 to 2 long, 1 to 1 wide, hairless, unlobed, and straight across ar tapered at the base. The margins are untoothed, slightly wavy, and sometimes hairy. They are on leaf stalks that are up to 2¾ long and purplish. They are usually withered by the time the plant is in flower.

There are 4 to 14 alternate stem leaves. They are oblong to lance-shaped, smaller than the basal leaves, unlobed, and sometimes hairy. The margins are sometimes coarsely toothed. They are mostly stalkless.

The inflorescence is an unbranched, elongated cluster (raceme) at the end of the stem. As the plant matures the raceme elongates, ultimately up to 6 long, with the flowers crowded at the top and the fruits widely spaced below.

The flowers are about ½ wide. There are 4 green, long, hairless sepals that turn yellow with age, 4 white, ¼ to ½ long, unlobed petals, and 4 long and 2 short stamens. Each flower is on a ½ to ¾ long, slender, hairless stalk. The flowers are sometimes fragrant.

The fruit is a ¾ to 1 long, narrow, somewhat flattened, ascending to erect pod. When mature the pod splits and the two sides fall away leaving the transparent interior partition attached to the plant.

 
     
 

Height

 
 

10 to 40

 
     
 

Flower Color

 
 

White

 
     
 

Similar Species

 
 

Cuckoo flower (Cardamine pratensis) has pinnately divided leaves.

Purple cress (Cardamine douglasii) has a stem that is hairy at the base. The sepals are hairy and turn dark purple with age. The petals are tinted purplish-pink.

 
     
 
Habitat
 
 

Wet to moist. Woods, meadows, shallow water.

 
     
 
Biology
 
 

Flowering

 
 

April to June

 
     
 

Pests and Diseases

 
 

 

 
     
 

Defense Mechanisms

 
 

This and other mustards (family Brassicaceae) produce chemical compounds when cells are damaged that are toxic to most animals, fungi, and bacteria.

 
     
 
Use
 
 

 

 
     
 
Distribution
 
 

Distribution Map

 

Sources

2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 24, 28.

 
  1/9/2014      
         
 

Nativity

 
 

Native

 
         
 

Occurrence

 
 

 

 
         
 
Taxonomy
 
  Kingdom Plantae (green algae and land plants)  
  Subkingdom Viridiplantae (green plants)  
  Infrakingdom Streptophyta (land plants and green algae)  
  Superdivision Embryophyta (land plants)  
  Division Tracheophyta (vascular plants)  
  Subdivision Spermatophytina (seed plants)  
  Class Magnoliopsida (flowering plants)  
  Superorder Rosanae  
 

Order

Brassicales (Mustards, Capers, and Allies)  
 

Family

Brassicaceae (mustard)  
  Tribe Cardamineae  
 

Genus

Cardamine (bittercress)  
       
 

Subordinate Taxa

 
 

 

 
       
 

Synonyms

 
 

Arabis bulbosa

Arabis rhomboidea

Cardamine rhomboidea

 
       
 

Common Names

 
 

bulb bittercress

bulbous bitter-cress

bulbous bittercress

spring cress

spring-cress

 
       

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glossary

Caudex

A short, thickened, woody, persistent enlargement of the stem, at or below ground level, used for water storage.

 

Raceme

An unbranched, elongated inflorescence with stalked flowers. The flowers mature from the bottom up.

 

Sepal

An outer floral leaf, usually green but sometimes colored, at the base of a flower.

       
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Wayne Rasmussen
       
  spring cress    
       
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Wayne Rasmussen
5/31/2016

Location: Nerstrand Big Woods State Park

spring cress


     
     
 
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