toothwort, any species of the genus Dentaria [Lat. dens=tooth, for the toothed rhizomes of some species], slender perennials of the family Cruciferae (or Brassicaceae; mustard family), native to north temperate regions. North American species are found chiefly in the eastern half of the continent and in the Pacific coastal region. The edible rhizomes have a pungent flavor similar to that of watercress, giving the name pepperwort to some species. D. diphylla, also called crinkleroot, is common to the E United States and was eaten raw or boiled by the Iroquois. It is sometimes cultivated for its large white or purple blossoms. Toothworts are classified in the division Magnoliophyta, class Magnoliopsida, order Capparales (or Brassicales), family Cruciferae (or Brassicaceae).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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