Hairy Bittercress, Cardamine hirsuta, is one of the smaller wild mustards in the Brassicaceae family. Oddly enough, this plant is less hairy and bitter and more non-hairy and spicy! The hairs are very fine and without close inspection, you’ll miss them all together.
Identifying Hairy Bittercress
This plant consists of compound leaves with tiny leaflets growing pinnately along leaf stalks. The leaves emanate from a basal rosette which can be easily seen in younger plants, before the adult leaves grow large. You’ll find bittercress thriving in cooler weather, however this plant may lay dormant during the extreme colder months in some areas. Oftentimes you’ll easily spot this vibrant green plant when all the colors are muted brown and gray. It loves wet, disturbed soil. It can often be found in gardens, along rivers, and even growing in shallow waters.
A tasty harvest
Like all mustards, bittercress is an excellent source of vitamin c. This unassuming micro-green is calling to all your garden salads! We love adding it raw to meals as a delicious, yet tasty, garnish. Next time you’re outside, take a peak around and see if you can find this delightful green. Just a few tender sprigs is all you’ll need!
Of course, make sure to positively identify your plants before consuming and avoid areas contaminated with toxic chemicals or pathogens. When harvesting gather a few leaf stalks rather than pulling the entire plant. If eating raw, be sure to use quickly as the leaves tend to wilt.
Enjoy this spicy micro-green on your next salad!
Or try Fancy Bittercress Polenta –