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Cardamine hirsuta

Common Name(s):
Flick weed, Hairy bittercress, Hoary bittercress, Lamb's cress, Land cress, Pepperweed, Shot weed, Snapweed
Categories:
Annuals, Edible Plants, Herbs
Comment:

Hairy bittercress is a winter annual or biennial plant in the mustard (Brassicaceae) family native to Europe and Asia, but also present in North America. It is commonly found in damp or disturbed soil. It has a basal rosette and may form a dense mat.

The bright green leaves generally contain 4 to 8 leaflets arranged alternately along the rachis. The stems of the plant are hairless and the leaves remain green even through winter months. Small white flowers occur in racemes with individuals containing four petals. They appear on wiry stems from early spring until fall. Like many brassicas, hairy bittercress has a dehiscent seed pod which contains seeds that explode out at the slightest touch. Once it is etablsihed in a lawn, it is difficult to eradicate.

Wildlife Value: The plants are food for the larval (caterpillar) stage of a few early butterflies, including (in the United States) spring azure (Celatrina landon) and falcate orange-tip (Anthocharis midea).  Members of the genus Cardamine support the following specialized bee: Andrena (Scaphandrena) arabis.

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems:  It is a favorite plant of aphids.

Season:
all
Light:
full sun, part shade
Color:
green
Height:
4 inches
Propagation:
Dehiscent seed pod
Edibility:
It is considered an edible, bitter herb with a similar taste to arugula. The whole plant can be eaten.
Tags:
edible weed, weed, bees, edible, specialized bees, wildlife plant, butterfly plant, larval food, native bees, butterflies

NCCES plant id: 2843

Cardamine hirsuta Whole plant
Kerry Wixted, CC BY-NC-2.0
Cardamine hirsuta Whole plant
Harry Rose, CC BY - 2.0
Cardamine hirsuta Leaf
Harry Rose, CC BY - 2.0
Cardamine hirsuta Flower
Mr. Clementi, CC-BY-SA-2.0
Cardamine hirsuta Flower
Harry Rose, CC BY - 2.0
Cardamine hirsuta Spider living on seed pod
Stanze, CC-BY-SA-2.0