Botanical Survey of India | Flora of India

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Herbs, annual, biennial or perennial; stems erect, diffuse or flaccid, simple or branched, glaucous, pubescent or with a few simple hairs. Leaves simple, ternate, pinnate or pinnatisect, alternate or rarely verticillate. Racemes usually many-flowered, ebracteate. Flowers white, pale-purple, mauve, pale-violet or pale-yellow; pedicels filiform, erect or upcurved. Sepals nearly equal at base, oblong or ovate; inner sepals somewhat pouched at base. Petals 4, clawed, obovate or subspathulate, rounded or emarginate, rarely absent. Stamens 4 - 6; filaments subulate, not broadened at base, erect; anthers oblong. Ovary cylindrical, 4 - 40-ovulate; ovules uniseriate, oval or orbicular; style often filiform; stigma simple, more or less bilobed. Fruits laterally compressed, narrow or broadly linear, tapering at both ends; valves rounded, with indistinct venation, dehiscing explosively and becoming coiled; style short. Seeds compressed, finely tuberculate, 1-seriate, few to many; cotyledons accumbent.

Cosmopolitan; about 150 species, 14 in India.


1a. Leaves simple or cauline, sometimes 3-foliolate, not deeply lobed or pinnatisect 2
b. Leaves compound 3
2a. Leaves sessile, lanceolate, half-amplexicaul; flowers violet 13. Cardamine violacea
b. Leaves petioled, cordate or subcordate; flowers white 2. Cardamine circaeoldes
3a. Leaves trifoliolate or bifoliolate, irregularly lobed, minutely or deeply toothed 4
b. Leaves many-jugate, pinnatisect 6
4a. Plants robust, generally up to 100 cm high; leaflets acuminate at apex; flowers pink 10. Cardamine scoriarum
b. Plants not robust, usually up to 45 cm high; leaflets obtuse or acute at apex; flowers dull white or palelilac 5
5a. Flowers dull white or greenish yellow, 2 - 5 mm across 1. Cardamine africana
b. Flowers pale-lilac, ca 8 mm across 12. Cardamine trifoliolata
6a. Plants robust, usually 45 - 100 cm high 9. Cardamine macrophylla
b. Plants slender, stems up to 40 cm (rarely 60 cm) high 7
7a. Leaves auricled at base 8
b. Leaves not auricled at base 9
8a. Flowers white; sepals ca 1.5 mm long 7. Cardamine impatiens
b. Flowers lilac or purple; sepals 3 - 3.5 mm long 5. Cardamine griffithii
9a. Leaflets irregularly lobed or crenately toothed at margin 10
b. Leaflets entire or irregularly sinuate or lobed at margin 11
10a. Petals oblong, ca 2 mm long or sometimes absent 11. Cardamine trichocarpa
b. Petals obovate-cuneate, ca 4 mm long 14. Cardamine yunnanensis
11a. Flowers usually 7 - 13 mm across 8. Cardamine loxostemonoides
b. Flowers usually 3 - 6 mm across 12
12a. Stem flexuose, usually with several branches from below; leaflets 2 - 4 pairs 4. Cardamine flexuosa
b. Stem erect or ascending, usually not branched from below; leaflets 5 - 13 pairs 13
13a. Basal leaves many, densely rosetted, hairy on upper surface 6. Cardamine hirsuta
b. Basal leaves few, not rosetted, glabrous on upper surface 3. Cardamine elegantula

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