Perennial. Moist ground in open woods. Nova Scotia, Ontario, Minnesota, southward to the Carolinas, Louisiana, and Kansas. Abundant in northern Ohio. April, May.
Cut-Leaved Dentaria. Dentaria lacinidta
Edible, not toothed, rather constricted in places, suggesting a string of beads, deeper seated than that of the Crinkle-Root.
Borne on the stem in a whorl of three, compounded of three leaflets; leaflets cut and toothed, the side ones deeply cut, so that apparently there are five leaflets; root-leaves late in appearing, similar to the stem-leaves.
White or pale rose-pink, of the type called crucifer, half an inch across, borne in a loose terminal cluster.
Sepals four, the two outer narrow.
Petals four, white or pink, arranged in the form of a cross, with short claws.
Six, two shorter than the others, which are of the same height.
One; ovary two-celled; style slender.
Pod, linear, two-celled, about an inch long, tipped with the slender style.
Pollinated by bees and flies. Nectar-bearing.
The rootstock of the Pepper-Root is just as edible as that of the Crinkle-Root, but it lies deeper in the ground, and as the root-leaves follow the flowering stems rather than precede them, they do not appear early enough to locate the plant.
The crucifer flowers are white or pale rose-pink; borne in a loose raceme at the summit of an unbranched stem. The plant dwells by preference in moist open places and begins its blooming season in April. It bears its stem-leaves in whorls of threes, and these are so cut and slashed and cut again that sometimes the entire leaf is simply a matter of lines and gashes.
The two Dentarias are very much alike, have about the same range, are early bloomers, forest-born, do their work early in the season, either passing away or overwhelmed by later growth. The rootstocks are of the same general nature; the flowers are the same. One species bears its stem-leaves in twos, the other in threes. They are lovely and united in life, and disappear to be welcomed again the succeeding spring.