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A plant sample from the Smithsonian collection. Leaves towards the root are broad, while leaves towards the end of the stalks are narrow like rosemarry.
Information icon Small-anthered bittercress sample from the Smithsonian. Photo by the Smithsonian Institution, CC BY-NC-SA 3.0.

Small-anthered bittercress

Cardamine micranthera


Small-anthered bittercress is an erect, slender perennial herb with fibrous roots and one (or, rarely, more) simple or branched stem growing two to four decimeters tall. Basal leaves are one to five centimeters long, and ½ to two centimeters wide. The stem leaves are alternate and mostly unlobed, one to 1.5 centimeters long. Flowering and fruiting occur in April and May. The flowers, surrounded by leafy bracts, have four white petals, six stamens, and small, round anthers.


Small-anthered bittercress is found in seepages, wet rock crevices, stream banks, sandbars, and wet woods along small streams, in fully to partially shaded areas.


Small-anthered bittercress is known only from the Dan River basin in north-central North Carolina (Stokes County) and south-central Virginia (Patrick County).

Conservation challenges

With a very limited range, and found in close association with water, the plant is threatened by stream impoundments, channelization, water contamination, as well as increased stormwater runoff which can abnormally increase the volume and velocity of stream flows, eroding stream banks and beds.

Encroachment of invasive exotic plant species, like Japanese honeysuckle, is also a threat. Many remaining sites are adjacent to agricultural fields and pastures. Accidental herbicide drift or run off could be detrimental, as could trampling and erosion on sites where livestock are allowed free access.

Recovery plan

Recovery criteria

Six self-sustaining populations must be permanently protected.

Actions needed

  1. Survey suitable habitat for additional populations.
  2. Monitor and protect existing populations.
  3. Conduct research on the biology of the species.
  4. Establish new populations or rehabilitate marginal populations to the point where they are self-sustaining.
  5. Investigate and conduct necessary management activities at all key sites.

Download the recovery 1991 plan.

How you can help

-Tread lightly and stay on designated trails. -Visit arboretums, botanical gardens, and parks and learn all you can about endangered plants and -the causes of their declines. Don’t collect or buy plants collected from wild populations. -Participate in the protection of our remaining wild lands and the restoration of damaged ecosystems. -Support wetland protection efforts at local, state, and national levels. -Establish and maintain forested stream-side forests. Several federal, state, and private programs -are available to assist landowners, both technically and financially, with restoring and protecting stream-side buffers and eroding streams. -Implement and maintain measures for controlling erosion and stormwater during and after -land-clearing and disturbance activities. Excess soil in streams from erosion is one of the -greatest water pollution problems today. -Be careful with the use and disposal of fertilizers, pesticides, and other chemicals. Remember, -what you put on your land or dump down the drain may eventually wind up in nearby water. -Support local, state and national clean water legislation. -Report illegal dumping activities, erosion, and sedimentation problems. These activities affect the quality of our water, for drinking, fishing, and swimming.

Subject matter experts

Designated critical habitat

None designated.

Federal Register notices

The following Federal Register documents were automatically gathered by searching the Federal Register Official API with this species’ scientific name ordered by relevance. You can conduct your own search on the Federal Register website.

  • We're sorry but an error occurred. Visit the Federal Register to conduct your own search.

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