Perennials; glabrous. Rhizomes ovoid to oblong, (3-) 4-18 mm diam., (fleshy, deeply underground). Stems erect, unbranched, 1-3 dm. Rhizomal leaves simple, 1.2-2.3 cm; petiole 6.7-19.5 cm; blade orbicular to reniform, or cordate to broadly ovate, 2.7-5.5 cm × 30-68 mm, base cordate to subtruncate, margins with obtuse teeth terminating in apiculae. Cauline leaves 2-5, (crowded distally), simple; petiole 0.3-2.6 cm, base not auriculate; blade similar to basal, 1.8-5.5 cm × 12-47 mm, base cuneate or obtuse to subcordate, marginal teeth apiculate. Racemes ebracteate. Fruiting pedicels divaricate to ascending, 7-24 mm. Flowers: sepals oblong, 4-7 × 2-2.5 mm, lateral pair saccate basally; petals usually pink or purple, rarely white, obovate to oblanceolate, 14-18 × 5-7 mm, (claw to 9 mm, apex rounded); filaments: median pairs 7-8 mm, lateral pair 5.5-6.5 mm; anthers oblong, ca. 1.5 mm. Fruits linear, 3.2-5.4 cm × 2.2-4 mm; ovules 10-14 per ovary; style 4-7 mm. Seeds brown, broadly ovoid, 2-2.8 × 1.8-2.5 mm. Flowering Mar-May. Forests, lava slides, talus, cliffs; 700-2900 m; Calif. Cardamine pachystigma is known from the disjunct counties of Plumas, Tehama, and Tulare.