WILDFLOWERS OF NEW MEXICO

 
 

The 7–32-inch tall, leafy stems spread by rhizomes and can form dense stands in moist soils along flowing mountain streams, canyon seeps, and alpine meadows. Note the showy, dense clusters of flowers with 4-petals (Mustard family) on the stem tips, the heart-shaped leaves, and the erect, linear seed pods. Also called Large Mountain Bittercress.


FLOWER: June, July (September). Flowers in a dense, rounded cluster on stem tips; 4 white, oval petals, 1/8-inch long (2–3 mm). Fruit is  a slender capsule (silique), erect, linear, 3/4–1 1/2-inch long (2–4 cm).


LEAVES: Alternate. Blades variable, oval to heart- or kidney-shaped, 3/4–2 3/4-inches long (2–7 cm); margins wavy to lined with coarse, shallow, rounded teeth or pointed lobes; surfaces hairless (var. cardifolia) to hairy (var. incana).


HABITAT: Sandy, gravelly moist soils, stream sides, canyons, moist meadows, alpine tundra; ponderosa-Douglas fir, spruce-fir-aspen forests.


ELEVATION: 7,872–10,075 feet.


RANGE: AZ, CA, CO, ID, NM, NV, OR, UT, WA, WY.


SIMILAR SPECIES: Other species of bittercress have lobed or compound leaves. Wild Candytuft, Noccaea fendleri, in the same range, has slender, clasping leaves and fruit that forms an egg-shaped disk.


NM COUNTIES: NM mountains in mid- to high-elevation, moist habitats: Catron, Colfax, Lincoln,  Los Alamos, Otero, Mora, Rio Arriba, San Miguel, Sandoval, Santa Fe, Taos

 

HEARTLEAF  BITTERCRESS

CARDAMINE  CORDIFOLIA

Mustard Family, Brassiaceae

Perennial herb

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Leaves vary in shape.

The plant spreads by roots and can form dense colonies.

Heartleaf Bittercress is a food plant for the Mustard White Butterfly, Pieris oleracea, and a  host for its caterpillars.