cuckoo cress, lady’s smock
Vascular – Exotic
Herbs - Dicotyledons other than Composites
The National Vegetation Survey (NVS) Databank is a physical archive and electronic databank containing records of over 94,000 vegetation survey plots - including data from over 19,000 permanent plots. NVS maintains a standard set of species code abbreviations that correspond to standard scientific plant names from the Ngä Tipu o Aotearoa - New Zealand Plants database.
Upright perennial herb up to 60 cm tall, with divided, watercress-like leaves and groups of pink flowers, c. 1 cm across.
Local in North Island, also collected in two South Island localities in Westland and Southland.
Wet grass- or sedgeland.
Wetland plant indicator status rating
OBL: Obligate Wetland
Almost always is a hydrophyte, rarely in uplands (non-wetlands).
Perennial herb. Rhizomes present. Stems erect, straight, glabrous, purplish or green, (15)-30-60-(80) cm tall. Lvs thin, green, glabrous, or rarely cauline lvs ciliate. Basal lvs many, pinnate, petiolate; terminal leaflet broadly elliptic, entire, lobed or toothed, shallowly cordate, larger than laterals; lateral leaflets in (3)-4-5-(6) pairs, broadly ovate, lobed or entire, shallowly cordate at base; petiolules < leaflets. Cauline lvs pinnate, shortly petiolate; terminal leaflet larger than laterals, entire, becoming narrow-elliptic to linear, cuneate at base; lateral leaflets in (3)-4-5-(6) pairs, entire, narrow-obovate to linear, cuneate at base, subsessile. Infl. racemose, straight, glabrous, 15-35 cm long. Pedicels glabrous, erecto-patent, 10-20-(30) mm long at fruiting. Sepals glabrous, green or pinkish, with scarious margins, 2.5-4 × 1-1.5-(2) mm. Petals pink (sometimes white), spreading, clawed, 8-11 × 4-6 mm. Stamens 6. Silique pale yellowish green or with purple valves, erect, (10)-15-18-(25) × 1-1.5 mm; valves glabrous; style 1-2 mm long. Seeds reddish brown, elliptic-oblong, not winged, c. 1.5 mm long.
Unlike any other cresses this species has large pink (rarely white) flowers.
Late spring to autumn
Seed dispersed by contaminated machinery or footwear.
Europe, North America, northern Asia
Reason for introduction
Unknown, possibly an ornamental plant
Not controlled in New Zealand.
cardamine: From the Greek name kárdamon, referring to an Indian spice
Factsheet prepared by Paul Champion and Deborah Hofstra (NIWA). Prepared by Paul Champion and Deborah Hofstra (NIWA). Features description from Webb et al., (1998).
References and further reading
Clapham, A.R.; Tutin, T.G.; Warburg, E.F. (1962). Flora of the British Isles. Cambridge University Press, Second Edition. 1269pp.
Johnson PN, Brooke PA (1989). Wetland plants in New Zealand. DSIR Field Guide, DSIR Publishing, Wellington. 319pp.
Popay et al (2010). An illustrated guide to common weeds of New Zealand, third edition. NZ Plant Protection Society Inc, 416pp.
Webb, C.J.; Sykes, W.R.; Garnock-Jones, P.J. (1988). Flora of New Zealand Volume 4: Naturalised pteridophytes, gymnosperms, dicotyledons. Botany Division, DSIR, Christchurch.