Slender toothwort is an interesting native wildflower with rhizomatous growth and erect stems from 10-30 cm tall. It is a perennial. The herbage is smooth to sparsely hairy. The leaves are long-petiolate, and on this variety, they are usually palmately or pinnipalmately compound with 3-7 leaflets as seen in the photo at right. There may be 1-3 stem leaves found above mid stem, each being compound with 3-5 thin leaflets.
The racemes are few-flowered, with the flowers erect or ascending. The 4 purplish sepals are 3-5 cm long, while the 4 petals range from 9-14 mm long. The petals are generally pink, red, or purplish. The siliques are 1.5-5 cm long and about 1.5 mm wide. The photos on this page show the old taxanomic variety: Cardamine pulcherrima var. tenella.
I believe that both of the following varieties of toothwort are now lumped within Cardamine nuttallii var. nuttallii. I've included these varietal divisions as several popular books for this region still use this terminology.
variety pulcherrima - The basal leave are at leas in part somewhat palmately to pinnipalmately compound with 3-7 leaflets, the blades deeply lobed to dissected.
variety tenella - The basal leaves are typically simple and rotund or a rounded hear-shape. If more deeply lobed, the lobes are entire or almost so.
Oaks toothwort is found in moist spring soil in open forests (under Oregon white oak in the gorge).
Oaks Toothwort is found from the Olympic Peninsula and Mt. Rainier south to Southwestern Oregon. In the Columbia River Gorge, it may be found from about the Wind River east to about Horsethief Butte, between the elevations of 100'-2500'.