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Cardamine bellidifolia L.

Alpine Bitter-cress

Habitat: By alpine brooks, in cold ravines or on wet mossy rocks. [Alpine or subalpine (non-forested, upland)]

Range: Circumboreal, south to the higher mountains of Maine and New Hampshire.

Aids to Identification: Alpine bitter-cress is a perennial herb with densely tufted stems growing to 3-10 cm. The small oval leaves are on long leaf-stalks; there are 2-5 white flowers on each stem; and the fruits are erect and crowded. This species is easily distinguished from the similar salt-marsh bitter-cress (C. longii) by the difference in habitat.

Ecological characteristics: In Maine this species is known to occur on high elevation wet ledges of Katahdin. Maine populations are C. bellidifolia var. bellidifolia.

Phenology: Flowers June - September.

Family: Brassicaceae

Synonyms: None noted

Known Distribution in Maine: This rare plant has been documented from a total of 1 town(s) in the following county(ies): Piscataquis.

Dates of documented observations are: 1929, 1978, 1989, 1995 (2), 2000

Reason(s) for rarity: Disjunct from principal range.

Conservation considerations: Populations of this taxa are small and vulnerable in Maine. Known populations are small, and subject to the vagaries of small populations like random fluctuations or localized disturbance events.