This beautiful little plant is probably the bane of most gardeners. It goes by the guise of many common name including Hairy Bittercress, Spring Cress and Hoary Bittercress, but its Latin name is Cardamine hirsuta. It is a plant belonging to the mustard family Brassicaceae.
It flowers for most of the year and is particularly abundant, found growing on all types of bare ground, including in the cracks of walls, paving, roof tiles, in woodland and along the banks of streams. The delicate white flowers of 4 petals will only open in bright weather.
The leaves form a tight rosette of 2 to 6 pairs of rounded leaflets with a larger terminal leaf. The leaves have a peppery taste to them and smell like Cress.
The long and slender seedpods (see image above), when ripe enough will explode, jettisoning the seeds to new ground.
The plant grows no taller than 30 centimetres (12in).
Double click on images to enlarge.
Hairy Bittercress Cardamine hirsuta, April 2018, front garden verge, Staffordshire, England. © Pete Hillman