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Key to families | Table of families and genera

Specimen numbers are hyperlinked to records in the Consortium of California Herbaria data view where possible. Taxa are hyperlinked to entries in the Jepson Interchange via the "[Online Interchange]" link.


Annual to perennial herb, from taproots, fibrous roots, or tuber-like rhizomes; hairs 0 or simple. Leaf: alternate, opposite, or whorled; entire to palmately, pinnately lobed, or compound; cauline leaves petioled or 0, not lobed at base [lobed]. Inflorescence: elongated, bracts generally 0. Flower: sepals erect (spreading), bases sac-like or not; petals white, pink, purple, or violet. Fruit: silique, linear, flat parallel to septum, dehiscent, unsegmented; valves generally coiling when dehiscent; placental margins flattened. Seed: (4)10–80, in 1 row, wingless.
± 200 species: temperate, worldwide. (Greek: for cress) Some North American species (e.g., Cardamine californica, Cardamine nuttallii, Cardamine pachystigma) highly variable, more study needed; species treated conservatively here. Cardamine flexuosa With. a waif in gardens, nurseries.
Unabridged note: Some North American species (e.g., Cardamine californica, Cardamine nuttallii, Cardamine pachystigma) highly variable and numerous minor variants were recognized as varieties. C ritical studies of these complexes reveal that only a fraction of the overall continuous variation was formally recognized. Without detailed molecular and cytological studies, a broader sp. concept is adopted herein.

Key to Cardamine

1. At least some cauline leaves simple or 0

2. Caudex distinct; rhizomes 0; cauline leaves 0 or 1(2) ..... C. bellidifolia

2' Caudex 0; rhizomes present; cauline leaves 2–23

3. Rhizome not fleshy, 1–3 mm wide; rhizome leaves generally 0 ..... C. cordifolia

3' Rhizome fleshy, (3)4–18 mm wide; rhizome leaves present

4. Petals white or pale rose, 8–13(15) mm; seeds 12–22; stem (2)2.7–6(7) dm; leaflets of rhizome leaves (0)3(5–7) ..... C. californica (2)

4' Petals pink to purple (white), 14–18 mm; seeds 10–14; stem 1–3 dm; rhizome leaves simple ..... C. pachystigma

1' Cauline leaves pinnately or palmately compound; leaflets 3–25, occasionally pinnately divided, appearing compound

5. Annual or biennial; rhizomes 0

6. Basal leaves not rosetted, early-deciduous ..... C. pensylvanica

6' Basal leaves rosetted, persistent

7. Stamens 4(6); pedicels erect to ascending; fruit generally appressed, glabrous; seeds margined ..... C. hirsuta

7' Stamens 6; pedicels ascending to spreading; fruit generally not appressed, sparsely hairy or glabrous; seeds not margined ..... C. oligosperma

5' Perennial herb; rhizomed

8. Rhizome not fleshy, cylindric

9. Rhizome leaves present; seeds 6–16(24) ..... C. angulata

9' Rhizome leaves 0; seeds 14–28 ..... C. breweri

8' Rhizome fleshy, segments fusiform, ovoid to oblong or spheric

10. Leaflets of cauline leaves 5–7; sepals 1.7–2 mm; petals 4–6 mm ..... C. occidentalis

10' Leaflets of cauline leaves 3(5); sepals 3.5–5.5 mm; petals 8–15 mm

11. Cauline leaves 2–5; stem (2)2.7–6(7) dm; seeds 12–22; petals white or pale rose ..... C. californica (2)

11' Cauline leaves 1–3; stem 0.5–2(3) dm; seeds 8–16; petals pale pink to purple (white) ..... C. nuttallii


Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) [year] Jepson eFlora, [accessed on month, day, year]
Citation for an individual treatment: [Author of taxon treatment] [year]. [Taxon name] in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora, [URL for treatment]. Accessed on [month, day, year].
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