Kentucky gladecress

Leavenworthia exigua var. laciniata

Family: Brassicaceae (brass-ih-KAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Leavenworthia (lev-en-WER-thee-uh) (Info)
Species: exigua var. laciniata



Foliage Color:


Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Water Requirements:

Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


under 6 in. (15 cm)


3-6 in. (7-15 cm)

6-9 in. (15-22 cm)


Not Applicable

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun

Sun to Partial Shade



Bloom Color:

Pale Pink

White/Near White

Bloom Time:

Late Winter/Early Spring

Mid Spring



Other details:

This plant may be considered a protected species; check before digging or gathering seeds

Soil pH requirements:

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall

Seed Collecting:

Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds

Seed does not store well; sow as soon as possible


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Louisville, Kentucky (2 reports)

Mount Washington, Kentucky

Gardeners' Notes:


On Apr 2, 2010, sassafrasgreen from Georgetown, IN wrote:

Leavenworthia exigua var. laciniata is now listed as a Candidate for protected status as an endangered species.

"Leavenworthia exigua var. laciniata (Kentucky gladecress) - The following summary is based on information in our files. Kentucky gladecress is a winter annual that is adapted to environments with shallow soils interspersed with flat-bedded limestones. The natural habitat for Kentucky gladecress is cedar glades, but the variety is also known from overgrazed pastures, eroded shallow-soil areas with exposed bedrock, and areas where the soil has been scra... read more


On May 16, 2009, jeff_frank from Fisherville, KY wrote:

May 15 2009
KY Gladecress is a uniquely Kentucky highly localized endemic species living in the small rapidly developing area noted above. It is in precipitous decline and being evaluated for inclusion on the Federal Endangered Species list. Collection of, or disturbance to remaining plants/sites should be discouraged. If you have the plant on your property and want to help in its preservation or just have questions call the KY State Nature Preserves Commission in Frankfort, KY. They are great folks to work with. I too have had the pleasure of stewarding multiple sites that are home to the plant and it's associated glade species. The pictures on this site are first rate.


On Apr 21, 2007, ViburnumValley from Scott County, KY (Zone 5b) wrote:

I can hardly lay claim to extensive knowledge of this plant, but KY gladecress is one of (if not the) rarest little wildflowers in Kentucky. I am fortunate to work where I will be stewarding a healthy little population of these stalwart spring ephemerals.

Paraphrasing the KY State Nature Preserve Commissions info:

KY gladecress is a tiny plant, 2-4 inches in height with small white to lilac flowers starting in March. It has flat pod-shaped fruit, leaves that are squarish on the ends and appear as disconnected pieces (laciniate) along the main leaf vein. By the time fruit forms, the leaves may be mostly gone.

This plant typically grows only on areas of flat soil, which is usually the thin soils/gravels on or around the dolomitic limestone outc... read more