A slender, erect, herbaceous plant with smooth stems, 6 to 20 inches high from a perennial, tuber-bearing root, simple or rarely branched. Leaves of two sorts, those of the stem sessile and clasping or the lower ones very short petioled, rather distant from one another, oblong or lanceolate, blunt, toothed or entire, 1 to 2 inches long; the basal leaves oval or orbicular, one-half to 2 inches broad, often slightly heart-shaped, toothed or usually entire, with long, slender petioles. Flowers white, about one-half of an inch broad, in a terminal, several to many-flowered cluster; petals four, three to four times the length of the four sepals. Fruit a number of erect, very slender pods, narrowed at each end and about an inch long.
Memoir 15 N. Y. State Museum
A. Bulbous Cress; Cuckoo-Flower - Cardamine bulbosa
In low, wet woods, thickets and wet meadows, New Brunswick to Vermont, southern Ontario and Minnesota, south to Florida and Texas. Flowering in April and May, or in cool woods as late as early June.
The Purple Cress (Cardamine douglassii (Torrey) Britton) has leaves which are more angularly toothed and showy purple flowers often three-fourths of an inch broad. It is found in cold, springy places in the northern part of the State.
The True Water-cress (Sisymbrium nasturtium-a qua-ticum Linnaeus) is a native of Europe, but is common in brooks and streams in most parts of New York.