Common Names: Narrowleaf Bittercress, Narrow-leaved Bittercress, Bushy rock-cress
Scientific name: Cardamine impatiens L.
Related species: C. pectinata Pall. Ex DC. (sometimes listed as a subspecies of C. impatiens)
Efforts must be made to prevent seed maturation and dispersal of plants into new areas. Additionally, no transportation, propagation, or sale of these plants is allowed. Failure to comply may result in enforcement action by the county or local municipality. Minnesota Noxious Weed Law.
Rapidly invading forested areas along rivers in eastern Minnesota, narrowleaf bittercress is raising concerns about its invasive potential. It is not known how narrowleaf bittercress was introduced to North America from Eurasia. It was first reported in the US in New England in 1916. The first report in Minnesota was in 2008. By 2009, multiple discrete infestations were reported in several counties.
Commonly, narrowleaf bittercress is found in forested floodplains and along rivers and streams in both its native and naturalized ranges. Occasionally, isolated populations occur in dry, sunny areas away from water.
Narrowleaf bittercress can self-pollinate and produces prolific quantities of seed in siliques that can shoot the seed a short distance from the plant when the dried seedpods burst open. Thus, a single plant can quickly form a colony. Seeds can germinate in water and rivers and streams are considered a method of long-range dispersal. Seeds can also be moved by human, animals, and vehicles.
Narrowleaf bittercress is reported in the northeastern United States and New Brunswick and Ontario in Canada. In Minnesota, observant botanists, natural resource specialists, and vegetation management consultants reported narrowleaf bittercress spreading at alarming rates in Hennepin, Ramsey, Washington, and Winona counties. Most infestations are located adjacent to either the St. Croix or Mississippi River. View narrowleaf bittercress distribution in Minnesota.
Narrowleaf bittercress outcompetes desirable vegetation which may result in decreased species diversity and habitat quality. The full impact of narrowleaf bittercress remains unknown due to the newness of most infestations in North America. Narrowleaf bittercress proliferates and spreads very quickly, provoking apprehension that it may prove highly invasive. The experience of other states with this species provides a basis for concern. Narrowleaf bittercress is established in New England. It was recently assessed and ranked as highly invasive plant in New York and a noxious weed in Connecticut and Massachusetts.
MDA Noxious Weed Program
County Ag Inspectors