Hairy Bittercress

Hairy_Bittercress_jpgThe Brassicaceae family commonly known as the Mustard or Crucifer family consists of 390 genera and 3,000 species of herbs and shrubs.  The flowers’ four petals are in the shape of a cross (Latin crucifer means “cross-bearing”).  The Brassicaceae family includes many economically important plants including the vegetables cabbage, kale, cauliflower, mustard greens, broccoli rabe, cress, turnip, radish, kohlrabi and rutabaga.  The condiment mustard is the ground seed of Bassica or Sinapis species.  An ancestral cabbage was cultivated about 8,000 years ago in coastal areas of northern Europe.  Cruciferous oil seeds, from species ofBassica, rank fifth in the 1990s in economic importance after soybeans, cotton seed, ground nut and sunflower seed.  Some Mustard plants are called Rocket, which is derived from eruca, Latin for “cabbage”. This species, hirsuta, is named for the hairy leaves.

OtherCommonName:

ScientificName:

Cardamine hirsuta

Community:

Edge

PlantStatus:

Naturalized from Europe

LifeSpan:

Annual or Biannual

PlantHeight:

4 to 16 inches

FruitingTime:

Mid-April to June

Distribution:

New York to Georgia and west to Illinois ~ Delaware Valley and Cape May county in New Jersey

FloweringTime:

Late March to mid-May

IdentifyingCharacteristics:

Stems glabrous (smooth, without hairs) ~ Leaves basal and numerous and conspicuous in comparison with the few small stems, narrower near top of stem and often with 1 or 2 teeth and hirsutulous above (course hairs) ~ Flowers erect, small