Cardamine pensylvanica Muhl. ex Willd.
Pennsylvanian bitter-cress
Brassicaceae (Mustard family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants


© Bryan Kelly-McArthur     (Photo ID #74438)


E-Flora BC Static Map

Distribution of Cardamine pensylvanica
Click here to view the full interactive map and legend

Species Information

Biennial or annual herb from a taproot, also some fibrous roots from the lower nodes; stems erect to ascending, one or more, freely branched, 10-40 cm tall, usually stiff-hairy at the base.
Basal and stem leaves pinnate, generally glabrous, lateral lobes (2) 4-10, shortly-stalked to stalked; basal leaves not rosetted, oblanceolate to egg-shaped, entire or shallowly lobed, 3-15 cm long, the terminal leaflet usually largest, up to 2 cm long; stem leaves linear or lanceolate to linear-oblanceolate.
Inflorescence an elongated racemes, more or less umbel-like, 3-10 cm long, usually lacking bracts; flower stalks ascending, 5-10 mm long; petals white, 2-4 mm long; sepals 1.2-1.8 mm long.
Siliques, erect, 1.5-2.5 cm long, 0.7-1 (1.5) mm wide, glabrous; styles 0.4-0.8 mm long; seeds (20) 24-40, about 1 mm long, usually wingless.

SourceThe Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


If more than one illustration is available for a species (e.g., separate illustrations were provided for two subspecies) then links to the separate images will be provided below. Note that individual subspecies or varietal illustrations are not always available.

USDA Species Characteristics

Flower Colour:
Blooming Period:
Early Spring
Fruit/Seed characteristics:
Colour: Black
Present from Spring to Summer
Source:  The USDA


Ecological Framework for Cardamine pensylvanica

The table below shows the species-specific information calculated from
original data (BEC database) provided by the BC Ministry of Forests and Range.
(Updated August, 2013)

Site Information
Value / Class




Elevation (metres)
1106 15 2208
Slope Gradient (%)
9 0 80

Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]

3 8 360
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
5 1 8
Modal Nutrient Regime
# of field plots
 species was recorded in:
Modal BEC Zone Class

All BEC Zones (# of stations/zone) species was recorded in

AT(1), BAFA(1), BG(1), BWBS(1), CWH(8), ESSF(13), ICH(6), IDF(6), MH(1), MS(2), PP(1), SBPS(4), SBS(3), SWB(1)

Habitat and Range

Moist streamsides, ditches, open woods and waste places in the lowland and montane zones; frequent throughout BC; E to NF and S to TX, FL and N CA.

SourceThe Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Synonyms and Alternate Names:
Cardamine pensylvanica var. brittoniana Farw.