Country people will tell you that the roots of the Crinkleroot make a mighty tasty sandwich, and if you happen to walk through the woods with them during May, they will dig up a few pieces and let you nibble on them, or if you are really hungry these roots will form a delightful addition to your little lunch of home-made bread, cold meat and hard-boiled eggs at the spring where you stop to eat and rest. The crinkled, edible root is considered of greater importance than the flowers, although without the attraction of the latter, they would not be so easily found. It is crisp and fleshy and tastes much like watercress. It grows horizontally from five to ten inches long and is often branched, crinkled and toothed, from which formation it takes its name. The pretty white flowers have the cross-shaped ear-mark that brands every member of the Mustard tribe. They are often found mingled with the Anemone and the Spring Beauty and their kind in the spring. The stem, which is stout and smooth, rises directly from the rootstock from eight to fourteen inches in height. The flower has four rounded petals which are arranged in opposite pairs and are spreading at the apex. They are over half an inch in diameter and are borne in a small, terminal cluster. The four green sepals drop early, and two of the six yellow stamens are noticeably smaller than the others. The single slender pistil ripens into a flat, lance-shaped pod. The large, smooth leaves are divided into three short-stemmed broad, wedge-shaped leaflets with toothed edges. They are set on long stems springing from the rootstock. Two somewhat smaller leaves are set nearly opposite each other on the upper part of the flower stalk. The Crinkleroot grows in pretty clusters, preferably in rich leafmould, in woods and meadows, from Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, to Lake Superior and Minnesota, south to South Carolina and Kentucky.
The Cut-leaved Toothwort or Pepper-root, D. laciniata, is found during April, May and June, in moist or rich woods from Florida and Louisiana northward to Minnesota and Quebec. The rootstock is deeply seated and its jointed appearance has likened it to a beaded necklace. It is edible and has a pungent and peppery taste. The flowers are nearly three-quarters of an inch broad and the petals are white, usually tinted with pink. The upper leaves are three-parted, having the outer parts often divided with two uneven clefts. All the parts are sharply toothed or lobed, and their general shape is narrowly oblong or lanceolate. Three leaves are set on short stems in a whorl, well up on the flower stalk. The similar basal leaves are rarely developed at the time of flowering. The blossoms are arranged like those of the Crinkleroot.