Spotlight On Hairy Bittercress

Hairy Bittercress Cardamine hirsuta

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.

Hairy Bittercress Cardamine hirsuta

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.

Hairy Bittercress Cardamine hirsuta leaves

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.

Hairy Bittercress Cardamine hirsuta seedpods

The long and slender seedpods (see image above), when ripe enough will explode, jettisoning the seeds to new ground.

Hairy Bittercress Cardamine hirsuta

The plant grows no taller than 30 centimetres (12in).

Hairy Bittercress Cardamine hirsuta

Double click on images to enlarge.

Hairy Bittercress Cardamine hirsuta, April 2018, front garden verge, Staffordshire, England. Β© Pete Hillman


39 thoughts on “Spotlight On Hairy Bittercress

    • This has been one of those small flowers which can be easily passed by. Today I decided to focus on it and was quite taken by what I had been missing all this time. Thank you, Anita πŸ™‚


    • Thank you, Judith πŸ™‚ It was one of those I passed by without stopping or really looking at and would readily pluck out from between my paving slabs until I did stop to focus on it and realised how beautiful it was.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I shall have to get the macro lens out on this one – they are everywhere in my garden – but I haven’t paid much attention other than yanking them out of the ground! Lovely shots Peter.

    Liked by 1 person

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