Cardamine concatenata

Species Native to Missouri
Common Name: cutleaf toothwort 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Brassicaceae
Native Range: North America
Zone: 3 to 8
Height: 0.50 to 0.75 feet
Spread: 0.50 to 0.75 feet
Bloom Time: April to May
Bloom Description: White
Sun: Part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Suggested Use: Naturalize
Flower: Showy


Best grown in humusy, organically-rich, well-drained soils in part shade. In optimum growing conditions, plants will slowly naturalize by rhizomes to form colonies. Difficult to grow from seed.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Cardamine concatenata, commonly called toothwort or cut-leaved toothwort, is a Missouri native spring wildflower which occurs in rich woods and wooded slopes throughout the State and typically grows 8-15" tall. This is a spring ephemeral which blooms in early spring before the leaves emerge on deciduous trees and goes dormant by late spring to early summer. Stems rise directly from rhizomes. Each stem has a whorl of three leaves near the middle of the stem, with each leaf divided into three, narrow, sharply-toothed, lance-shaped segments. A terminal cluster of four-petaled, white flowers (sometimes with a pink blush) blooms at the top of each stem. Flower petals are arranged in the shape of a cross. Synonymous with and sometimes still sold by nurseries as Dentaria lancinata. Although the leaves are toothed, the common name probably is in reference to the tooth-like projections on the fleshy rootstock. The toothworts are sometimes called pepperroots in reference to the spicy, radish-like flavor of the rhizomes which can be cut up and added to salads.

Genus name comes from the Greek name for a plant of the cress family.


No serious insect or disease problems. Foliage disappears from the garden in early summer as plants go dormant.


Best in woodland gardens, wild flower gardens or naturalized areas. Can be grown in shaded areas of borders or rock gardens as long as sited near later-developing perennials which will fill the gaps left by late spring dormancy.