Perennials; usually glabrous, rarely sparsely pubescent. Rhizomes (tuberiform, fragile) moniliform, segments fusiform, 3-6 mm diam. (fleshy). Stems erect, unbranched, 1.2-3(-4) dm, glabrous or pubescent. Rhizomal leaves 3-foliolate, to 24 cm, leaflets petiolulate or subsessile; petiole (3-) 5-12(-16) cm; lateral leaflets subsessile or petiolulate (0.2-1 cm), blade similar to terminal leaflet or smaller; terminal leaflet (petiolule (0.2-)0.5-1.5(-2) cm, blade broadly ovate to rhombic-obovate, 1.5-6(-8) cm, base usually cuneate, rarely subtruncate, margins coarsely dentate to crenate or 3-lobed, surfaces puberulent or not. Cauline leaves 2 (or 3), 3-foliolate (usually alternate, rarely opposite, different in morphology from rhizomal), petiolate, leaflets petiolulate or sessile; petiole 0.5-2 cm, base not auriculate; lateral leaflets sessile, blade similar to terminal, smaller, margins usually dentate, rarely entire; terminal leaflet sessile or petiolulate, blade narrowly lanceolate to narrowly oblong or oblong-lanceolate, 2-7 × 0.3-0.6 cm, margins minutely puberulent. Racemes ebracteate. Fruiting pedicels ascending to divaricate, 15-40 mm. Flowers: sepals oblong, 5-7.5 × 1-2 mm, lateral pair slightly saccate basally; petals purple to pale pink, oblanceolate, 9-18 × 2-5 mm (clawed, apex rounded); filaments: median pairs 5-10 mm, lateral pair 3.5-8 mm; anthers linear, 1.5-3 mm. Fruits linear, 2.5-4 cm × 1.5-2.5 mm; ovules 8-12 per ovary; style (5-)7-11 mm. Seeds dark brown, oblong, 2-2.5 × 1-1.5 mm. 2n = ca. 128. Flowering Mar-May. Moist woods, wooded ridges and bottomlands, floodplains, shady ravines, streambeds; 300-1300 m; Ala., Ark., Del., D.C., Ga., Ind., Ky., Md., Miss., N.J., N.C., Ohio, Pa., S.C., Tenn., Va., W.Va. Cardamine heterophylla (Nuttall) Alph. Wood (1870), not Host (1797) is an illegitimate name, sometimes found in synonymy with C. angustata.
From Flora of Indiana (1940) by Charles C. Deam
Infrequent to frequent but locally common on moist, rich, wooded slopes in the southern part of the state. There is a report from Cass & Wabash Counties but there is no specimen. The stem leaves of this species are very variable.
Rhizome constricted at intervals, stems 2-4 dm, glabrous or rarely a little hairy; basal lvs like those of no. 1 [Cardamine diphylla (Michx.) A. W. Wood], with broad, coarsely crenate-toothed segments; cauline lvs 2(3), opposite or nearly so, their segments narrowly lanceolate, sharply toothed to entire, as in no. 3 [Cardamine concatenata (Michx.) O. Schwarz]; sep 5-8 mm; pet 10-15 mm, faintly pinkish-lavender; frs 2-4 cm; 2 n=128. Rich woods; N.J. to Ind., s. to Ga. and Miss. Apr., May. (Dentaria heterophylla) A very similar pl from Conn., with the segments of the cauline lvs confluent at base, has been called Dentaria incisifolia Eames.
Gleason, Henry A. & Cronquist, Arthur J. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. lxxv + 910 pp.