Cardamine concatenata is a perennial, spring ephemeral herb; 20- 40 cm tall, sparsely colonial from a fleshy, peppery tasting rhizome; stems hairy above.
Leaves alternate, 3-parted (appearing 5-parted from deeply divided segments) with narrow, palmate, toothed lobes, basal leaves dying before plant flowers.
Flowers white to pale lavender, petals 4, to 1.9 cm long, 0.5 cm wide, blooming April-May.
Fruit dry, a narrow capsule 3 cm long with numerous seeds. No apparent seed dispersal mechanism. Migration to distant or disconnected forest sites has been estimated at a rate of 1.06 m/yr. (Matlack 1994).
Wetland status: FACU.
Frequency in NYC: infrequent.
Habitat: Spring ephemeral in herb layer of moist, undisturbed woods.
Notes: Seeds and tubers eaten by mice (Martin et al. 1951). Plant intolerant of shade, becoming dormant after forest canopy closure, has high rate of photosynthesis for a short time (Brundrett and Kendrick 1988). Spring ephemerals take up soil nutrients, especially N, in early spring. Some nutrients are sequestered in bulbs or roots but some are released back into soil when leaves and flowers decompose just as tree and summer herbs are expanding their leaves (Peterson and Rolf 1982). Cardamine species are host to the larvae of the falcate orangetip butterfly, Anthocharis midea (Pieridae).