Cardamine diphylla

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Cardamine diphylla
Toothwort (Dentaria diphylla).jpg
Scientific classification
C. diphylla
Binomial name
Cardamine diphylla

Dentaria diphylla Michx.
Dentaria incisa Small

Cardamine diphylla (broadleaf toothwort, crinkle root, crinkle-root, crinkleroot, pepper root, twin-leaved toothwort, twoleaf toothwort, toothwort) is a plant native to North America.

Cardamine diphylla is a spring woodland plant that is found in most of eastern North America.


Its habitat ranges from Georgia north to Ontario and from the Atlantic to Wisconsin. It is found in moist woodlands usually in edge habitats and blooms from April to June. A member of the mustard family, it is typified by a four petal flower which blooms in a cluster on a single stalk above a single pair of toothed stem leaves each divided into three broad leaflets. After flowering, narrow seedpods appear just below the flower cluster. It grows approximately 30 cm (12 in) tall.

Butterfly habitat[edit]

The West Virginia white butterfly (Pieris virginiensis) lays its eggs on this plant as well as C. laciniata. The larvae also feed on this plant.[1] As with Pieris oleracea, Pieris virginiensis mistakes garlic mustard for its host plants, making eradication of it important for their continued survival. Garlic mustard also competes with the plants for space and nutrients.[2]

Use by Native Americans[edit]


The ground root of which is mixed with vinegar by the Algonquin people of Quebec and used as a relish.[3] They also give an infusion to children to treat fevers, and use an infusion of the plant and sweet flag root to treat heart disease.[4] The Cherokee use a poultice of the root for headaches, chew the root for colds and gargle an infusion for sore throats.[5] The Lenape use the roots as a stomach medicine,[6] and use an infusion of the roots combined with other plants as a treatment for scrofula and venereal disease.[7] The Delaware Nation of Oklahoma use a compound containing the root as a stomach remedy, for scrofula, and for venereal disease.[8]

The Iroquois take an infusion of the whole plant to strengthen the breasts.[9] They also chew the raw root for stomach gas, apply a poultice of roots to swellings, take a cold infusion of the plant for fever and for "summer complaint, drink a cold infusion of the roots for "when love is too strong", and use an infusion of the roots when "heart jumps and the head goes wrong." [10] They also use a compound for chest pains.[11] They also take an infusion of the plant at the beginning of tuberculosis.[12] The Malecite use an infusion of the roots as a tonic,[13] and chew green or dried roots for hoarseness.[14] The Micmac use the root as a sedative, to clear the throat and for hoarseness, and use the root as a tonic.[15]


The Abenaki use it as a condiment.[16] The Cherokee parboil and rinse the stems and leaves, add hot grease, salt & water & boiled them until they are soft as potherbs. They also use the leaves in salads,[17] and smoke the plant.[18] The Iroquois eat the roots raw with salt or boiled.[19] The Ojibwa mix the roots with salt, vinegar, or sugar and use them as a condiment.[20]


  1. ^ "Butterflies and Moths of North America". Archived from the original on 2007-02-05. Retrieved 2007-05-13.
  2. ^ Becker, R., Gerber E., Hinz H., Katovich E., Panke B., Reardon R., Renz R., Van Riper L., 2013. Biology and Biological Control of Garlic Mustard. The Forest Technology Enterprise Team.
  3. ^ Black, Meredith Jean 1980 Algonquin Ethnobotany: An Interpretation of Aboriginal Adaptation in South Western Quebec. Ottawa. National Museums of Canada. Mercury Series Number 65 (p. 86)
  4. ^ Black, p.173
  5. ^ Hamel, Paul B. and Mary U. Chiltoskey 1975 Cherokee Plants and Their Uses -- A 400 Year History. Sylva, N.C. Herald Publishing Co. (p. 59)
  6. ^ Tantaquidgeon, Gladys 1972 Folk Medicine of the Delaware and Related Algonkian Indians. Harrisburg. Pennsylvania Historical Commission Anthropological Papers #3 (p. 37)
  7. ^ Tantaquidgeon, p.34
  8. ^ Tantaquidgeon, p.31, 76
  9. ^ Rousseau, Jacques 1945 Le Folklore Botanique De Caughnawaga. Contributions de l'Institut botanique l'Université de Montréal 55:7-72 (p. 45)
  10. ^ Herrick, James William 1977 Iroquois Medical Botany. State University of New York, Albany, PhD Thesis (p. 341)
  11. ^ Herrick, p.341
  12. ^ Rousseau, Jacques 1945 Le Folklore Botanique De Caughnawaga. Contributions de l'Institut botanique l'Université de Montréal 55:7-72 (p. 45)
  13. ^ Mechling, W.H. 1959 The Malecite Indians With Notes on the Micmacs. Anthropologica 8:239-263 (p. 252)
  14. ^ Mechling p.247, 252
  15. ^ Chandler, R. Frank, Lois Freeman and Shirley N. Hooper 1979 Herbal Remedies of the Maritime Indians. Journal of Ethnopharmacology 1:49-68 (p. 56)
  16. ^ Rousseau, Jacques 1947 Ethnobotanique Abénakise. Archives de Folklore 11:145-182 (p. 152)
  17. ^ Perry, Myra Jean 1975 Food Use of "Wild" Plants by Cherokee Indians. The University of Tennessee, M.S. Thesis (p. 37)
  18. ^ Hamel, Paul B. and Mary U. Chiltoskey 1975 Cherokee Plants and Their Uses -- A 400 Year History. Sylva, N.C. Herald Publishing Co. (p. 59)
  19. ^ Waugh, F. W. 1916 Iroquois Foods and Food Preparation. Ottawa. Canada Department of Mines (p. 120)
  20. ^ Arnason, Thor, Richard J. Hebda and Timothy Johns 1981 Use of Plants for Food and Medicine by Native Peoples of Eastern Canada. Canadian Journal of Botany 59(11):2189-2325 (p. 2207)

Roots picture


  • Wood, Alphonso (1870) New American Botanist and Florist, revised and edited by Oliver R Willis. American Book Company Publishers, 1889.

External links[edit]