Another edible weed!

Last weekend I wrote a post asking if anyone could identify a certain wild plant intermingling with the chickweed in my garden beds. No one seemed to have any ideas, so I took another stab at identifying it. And this time I found it easily–once I looked in my French guide to wild flowers. It turns out it’s a European native.

This little plant is Cardamine hirsuta, commonly called hairy bittercress. Wikipedia labels it an “invasive weed,” which I suppose it is, since it’s popping up everywhere in my lawn. But it’s not ugly, it’s ephemeral, and its taste packs quite a punch. Nibble a few of the young leaves, and you’ll quickly guess that hairy bittercress is a member of the mustard family. It grows abundantly in winter, providing free (spicy) greens when there’s not much else available fresh from the yard.

Another delightful case of weeds’ becoming food…


8 Comments Add yours

  1. pbmgarden says:

    Thanks for identifying this!

  2. Sharon says:

    Renee Wade, of the lovely blog, says she calls this plant pepper weed. I like that name a lot better than “hairy bittercress.” I’m adopting it!

  3. nancyc says:

    That is great to know–I used to have this stuff all over my yard at my former home–little did I know it was good to eat! Thanks for the info!

    1. Sharon says:

      If you have Cardamine hirsuta, you probably have chickweed, too: Stellaria media. It’s great as an addition to winter salads, and usually grows even more abundantly in garden plots than the Cardamine! I posted about it a couple of weeks ago:

  4. marionowen says:

    Ah, this plant is popping up all over our gardens in Kodiak, Alaska, too! Thanks for the reminder that it’s edible!

  5. I think that we may have these too. Thanks for sharing…we will keep an eye out!

  6. tedmanzer says:

    I took a bunch of Cardamine pictures last weekend. I need to add them to my Bittercress article from a while back. Bittercress is one of my favorite winter greens. If you cook it, be careful not to overdo it, unless you want to use it with melted cheese for a dip.

    1. Sharon says:

      Thanks for the tip! And for stopping by!

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