Purple Cress, Pink Spring Cress or Limestone Bittercress (Cardamine douglassii)
Plant Type: This is a herbaceous plant, it is a perennial which can reach 30cm in height (12inches). The lower
stem is hairy. From a shallow, white rhizome that becomes green
Leaves: The leaves are alternate. Most leaves have a few shallow lobes or
sinuous margins. The basal leaves have petioles and are about as long as wide. The three to five stem leaves
are clasping and the upper two are narrow, acute. The lower
leaves are rounded and sometimes purple on the underside.
Flowers: The flowers have 4
Regular Parts and are up to 1.25cm long (0.5 inches). They are pinkish, purple sometimes white. Blooms first appear in
early spring and continue into mid spring. The sepals are purple
turning brown. The pedicels are longer than the flowers when
Fruit: A silique to
2cm (0.8") long.
Habitat: Woods in moist, alluvial soil.
Range: Northeastern and
Midwestern states at least as far south as north Georgia and South Carolina. Very scattered in the southern part of range.
Color Photo More Info
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This is a northern species that extends just into our area in scattered
locations usually near water. It is a plant to look for in very early spring. The Cardamine genus can be difficult to define
and this species is no exception. The leaves vary a great deal and the flowers may be almost white or very
Similar Species: This species sometimes hybridizes with the very similar Bulbous Bittercress
(Cardamine bulbosa) which blooms a couple of weeks later, has white flowers (rarely pink), green sepals turning
yellow, is taller and less hairy. It is less similar to other Bittercresses.
From a distance the flowers are very like Cut-leaved Toothwort, Cardamine laciniata which
is blooming at the same time and much more common in our area.
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By: Newcomb, Lawrence and Illustrated by Morrison, Gordon. 1977, Little, Brown and Company, ISBN:0-316-60442-9
One of the best general guides to wildflowers of the North Eastern and North Central United States. Newcomb's key
is an excellent, simple method for identifying plants. Newcomb has drawings for almost every plant mentioned that
are excellent aids to identifying the species. Though only the more common plants are covered this is often the first
book I pick up when trying to identify a wildflower.
wers of Tennessee the Ohio Valley and the Southern Appalachians
By: Dennis Horn and Tavia Cathcart and Thomas E. Hemmerly and David Duhl. , ISBN:1551054280
This is perhaps the best of many field guides covering this region. Featuring 446 excellent color photographs (located
with the text) and mentioning as similar to those illustrated are another 800 or so species for a total coverage of over
1,200 species. The start of each family section includes line drawings of some of the species showing important
features. The text includes the usual description, bloom season, range, habitat and additionally includes information
such as medical uses and lore and how the species was named. This is the official field guide of the Tennessee
Native Plant Society.
Angiosperms / Flowering
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