Hairy Bittercress – Identification

Q: I can’t seem to identify this weed and its properties. I have it in centipedegrass even though I put down fall and spring pre-emergent. How do I go about treating it?

A: It’s hairy bittercress. I’m surprised you got a picture of it before it bloomed. The little white flowers and spiky seed capsules make this weed easy to spot in February and March.

When the capsules dry out in a week or two, the slightest touch will cause them to burst open and scatter seed far and wide. ….leading to even MORE bittercress next year.

The best control after it sprouts is vigilant application of synthetic broadleaf weed killer (click for sources) or organic weed killers.

  Try to get the weedkiller ONLY on the bittercress leaves; the centipedegrass will be damaged otherwise.

I haven’t found a pre-emergent that works well.

Start spot-spraying in early February each year and the weed will be only a nuisance.

Hairy Bittercress

Jim D. notes “We have been growing and eating this plant for over 30 years. We stir fry them down like turnip greens. We call them Highland Creases in the country.

My reply:
You may be eating the hairy bittercress, Cardamine hirsuta, I describe but I think you’re more likely eating upland cress, Barbarea verna, otherwise known as creasy salad, creasy greens, or highland creasy

More information here

Creasy Greens recipe

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