More Information About Cardamine
Some taxonomists have lumped Cardamine with the other Toothwort (Dentaria), or with Rockcress (Arabis), but we have chosen to keep these shade-loving genera separate. Although Cardamine may be best known as a small but annoying garden weed that flings its seeds when you brush by the plants, the genus has friendlier ornamental members as well.
Cardamine was named after the culinary herb Cardamom, but the two plants are unrelated. Cardamine and Cardamom are based on the Greek word for "cress" which is a general term for a small, piquant edible leaf. Like its namesake, some Cardamine species have culinary uses as a peppery pot herb or raw garnish.
Cardamine is in the cabbage family and displays the small 4-petaled flowers and slender seed pods that define this group. Toothwort plants are generally small woodland plants with attractive lobed leaves and white or pale shades of pink, purple, or lilac flowers. The leaves arise in fall and grow throughout winter, followed by clusters of light colored flowers that emerge for a few weeks in early spring. The Toothwort lifestyle is similar to other woodland species that we grow such as woodland phlox, arum and helleborus. Toothwort plants thus syncopate with and complement summer blooming plants such as hosta, begonia, sternbergia, and tricyrtis.
Cardamine plants spread by rhizomes when located in a favorable environment. They prefer partial shade, well-drained soils with lots of compost, and regular watering. Some Toothwort species prefer a wetter environment and in the wild are found near bluffs, floodplains, seepage bogs, and water springs. When you are ready to buy Cardamine for your garden, check out our online list of Cardamine for sale.