Cardamine trifolia

Common Name: trifoliate bittercress 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Brassicaceae
Native Range: Central and southern Europe
Zone: 5 to 9
Height: 0.25 to 0.50 feet
Spread: 0.75 to 1.00 feet
Bloom Time: April to May
Bloom Description: White
Sun: Part shade to full shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Ground Cover
Flower: Showy
Tolerate: Drought, Heavy Shade, Clay Soil


Best grown in evenly moist, rich, humusy, well-draining soils in part shade to full shade. Tolerant of occasional drought once established. Can adapt to a wide range of soil types including sandy and clayey soils. Propagate by division. Hardy in Zones 5-9.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Cardamine trifolia, commonly called trifoliate bittercress, is a low-growing, evergreen, herbaceous perennial native to rocky, mountain slopes and moist stream banks in central and southern Europe. Mature plants will reach up to 3" tall and slowly spread to fill a 1' area, taking on a low, mat-forming to low-mounding habit. The dark green, glossy foliage is made up of three rounded leaflets with slightly toothed margins. Delicate, 6" long flowering stalks emerge from the foliage clumps in spring and are topped with a cluster of small, white flowers.

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

The specific epithet trifolia means "three-leaved", in reference to the three leaflets that make up the foliage of this species.

The common name trifoliate bittercress refers to the three leaflets that make up the foliage of this species. Bittercress is a common name often applied to members of the genus Cardamine.


No major pest or disease problems of note. Watch for aphids and flea beetles


Ground cover for woodland gardens and shady areas of rock gardens, alpine gardens, cottage gardens, and mixed borders.