Cardamine pratensis Perennial. In low rich land. Naturalized from Europe. Labrador to New Jersey, west to British Columbia and Minnesota. Probably not in northern Ohio. April, May.

Roots

Fibrous.

Stems

Slender and smooth, eight to twenty inches high.

Leaves

Pinnately divided; divisions three to seven pairs and an odd one.

Flowers

White or rose-color, crucifers, half an inch long, in a loose raceme.

Pods. Linear, straight.

Pollinated by bees, flies, butterflies. Nectar-bearing.

"When daisies pied and violets blue And Lady-Smocks all silver white, And Cuckoo buds of yellow hue Do paint the meadows with delight."

- "Love's Labor's Lost," Shakespeare.

Cardamine pratensis is our naturalized Bitter Cress, the Lady-Smock of Shakespeare. It came by way of the Atlantic seaports, in ballast or seed-grain, and seems to have made its way westward to the Pacific coast. In general appearance it is the same as our native Cresses but has perhaps a larger and more showy flower. The light, graceful growth and the pinnately divided foliage give the plant a distinct charm. In ancient times it was considered a valuable remedy in heart-disease, so Linnaeus gave it the name Cardamine, signifying heart-strengthening. Its showy flower and abundant nectar invite many insect visitors.