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CARDAMINE hirsuta

Image of Cardamine hirsuta

Jessie Keith

Family

Brassicaceae

Botanical Name

CARDAMINE hirsuta

Plant Common Name

Hairy Bittercress

General Description

What an annoying cool season Eurasian weed! Hairy bittercress is truly a gardener's nightmare. This pesky annual is easy enough to pull and hoe, but a single plant can produce a rain of thousands of seeds in spring, making it major work to keep at bay. The word "rain" is used because the mature seedpods of hairy bittercress explode sending the many tiny seeds within up to the skies to rain down across the surrounding landscape.

Plants often sprout in fall and overwinter as small, neat rosettes of fine, almost ferny, green foliage. As late winter or spring temperatures grow warmer, elongated, upright, branched stems topped with many tiny, white, four-petaled flowers are produced. Each flower turns to an elongated, upright, green silique filled with seeds. The mature, dry seedpods explode when disturbed releasing hundreds to thousands of seeds into the air and surrounding area. A single plant is capable of producing thousands of seeds.

A winter weed capable of growing in sun and partial shade, hairy bittercress is also adaptable to a wide range of well-drained soil types. Plants will bolt more quickly if subjected to fast-warming temperatures. They are easy to pull or hoe but their sheer numbers can make it difficult to weed them all. Missing just one plant will mean loads more weeding the following year. Mulch will easily smother plants and seedlings and is recommended where this weed is a serious problem.

Characteristics

  • Plant Type

    Annual

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun

  • Height

    4"-8" / 10.2cm - 20.3cm

  • Width

    2"-4" / 5.1cm - 10.2cm

  • Bloom Time

    Early Spring, Spring, Late Spring, Late Fall, Early Winter, Winter, Late Winter

  • Native To

    Europe, Asia

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral, Alkaline

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Clay, Loam, Sand

  • Tolerances

    Pollution

  • Growth Rate

    Very Fast

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit

    Clump-Forming

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Insignificant

  • Flower Color

    White

  • Fruit Color

    Green, Tan

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    Green

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    No

  • Foliage Texture

    Fine

  • Evergreen

    No

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    Yes

  • Self-Sowing

    Yes