Two-Leaved Toothwort

Cardamine diphylla Brassicaceae

Growth habit




Native distribution

Native to the Finger Lakes Region


A 6" tall ephemeral with white flowers.
Light: shade to part shade
Moisture and Soil: dry to moist soil


Seed Treatment and Storage: germiantes best if seeds are kept moist, then given cold/moist stratification.

Biocultural value

The rootstock has a peppery, radish-like flavor. It makes a passable substitute for horseradish when grated and mixed with vinegar. The Abnaki, Ojibwa, and Algonquin used the spicy roots as a condiment and many groups also employed them as a cold remedy, digestive aid and throat medicine. The Cherokee used the stems and leaves as a vegetable, either raw or boiled with grease and salt.

The statements above were sourced from:

Native American Ethnobotany Database: http://naeb.BRIT Native American Ethnobotany

Wildlife value

Lance-leaved and two-leaved toothworts are the preferred host of the West Virginia white butterfly (Pieris virginiensis) which is declining throughout its range due to the spread of invasive garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata), which is in the same family as toothwort but does not support the butterfly's larvae. The bee Andrena arabis only collects pollen from Cardamine and Arabis, another genus in the mustard family (Brassicaceae). Flea beetles (Phyllotreta bipustulata and P. zimmermanni) feed on the foliage.

Climate change sensitivity

Over the period from 1986 to 2015, Cardamine diphylla bloomed an average of 1.1 days later.


Mundy Wildflower Garden, Coy Glen, McDaniel Meadow, Woods, and Swamp, McLean Bogs, Eames Bog, Ringwood Ponds

Special characteristics

Between 1986 and 2015, average temperatures here increased measurably, but the change did not significantly affect this plant’s average bloom date.