Information on Coralroot

Common Name: Coralroot
Scientific Name: Cardamine bulbifera
Irish Name: Not known at present
Family Group: Brassicaceae
Distribution: View Map (Courtesy of the BSBI)
Flowering Period

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Coralroot could sometimes be confused with:


Previously known as Dentaria bulbifera and Cardamine bulbifer, this species is also commonly known as Coralroot Bittercress. It is a hairless perennial which grows 70 cm high in deciduous woodland and on damp, chalky soil. It bears pink four-petalled flowers which are not unlike those of Cuckooflower but a deeper shade of pink. These 12-18 mm flowers are borne in short, terminal racemes in April and May. The leaves are most distinctive; they are mostly pinnate with 1-3 leaflets and a terminal leaf. An identifying feature of this plant is the small purple-brown reproductive bulbils which are borne in the axils of the upper leaves. These bulbils fall to the ground where they may be transported by feet, wheels or hooves. They are the reproductive mechanism for the formation of new plants which are genetically identical with the parent plant. Coralroot is not very widespread in Ireland, it is an introduced species and it belongs to the Brassicaceae family. 

My first record of this plant was in Marlay Park, Dublin in 2011 when I photographed it. I’m very grateful to a kind gentleman who contacted me when he found the plant and, together with his wife, took me and my husband, Pete, to see it. You know who you are. 

If you are satisfied you have correctly identified this plant, please submit your sighting to the National Biodiversity Data Centre