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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