Bittercress, Garlic Mustard, Herb Barbara, Rocketcress, Winter Rocket, and Wound Rocket,
– Mustard family
An herbaceous biennial or perennial.,
European import, which is a member of the mustard family, this
herbaceous plant g , and
Grows to a height of 1 - 2½ feet.
Deeply lobed, dark green, hairless, and
toothless leaves which grow in a basal rosette. Once the flower
stalk appears, the upper leaves clasp the stalk and are long to
broad. The lobes point toward the leaf tip rather than the leave
base like those of dandelion. The lower leaves have 4 to 8
It is smooth stemmed
Taproot similar to that of dandelion.
The structure of the flowers is extremely uniform throughout
the family. They have four free saccate sepals and four
clawed free petals, staggered. They can be disymmetric or
slightly zygomorphic, with a typical cross-like arrangement
(hence the name 'Cruciferae'). They have six stamens, four
of which are longer (as long as the petals, so relatively
short in fact) and are arranged in a cross like the petals
and the other two are shorter (tetradynamous flower). The
pistil is made up of two fused carpels and the style is very
short, with two lobes. Superior ovary. The flowers form
ebracteate racemose inflorescences, often apically corymb-like.
(This flower description was taken from Wikipedia)
The seeds are divided into two halves.
Unlike its relative dandelion, Wintercress does not contain a
white sap. This highly nutritious plant provides plenty of B
vitamins, potassium, and calcium. It is said the plant also helps
prevent cancer because it contains highly concentrated levels of
Disturbed areas with moist soil, ditches, roadsides, and vacant
lots. This plant grows in just about ever state coast to coast. As
you may have guessed because of its love of wet conditions,
Wintercress is absent from the hot areas of the desert southwest.
Leaves and stems. Roots can also be roasted
Wild Food Uses:
The leaves are highly nutritious sources of B
vitamins, calcium, potassium, and fiber. Unlike many plants, the
flowers are a good source of protein. By the time the stalks appear,
the leaves are too bitter to eat, but the flower buds, when they
appear look and taste like broccoli and are quite good. The flowers
themselves are also edible.
Note: There are some studies which indicate
Wintercress may cause kidney malfunction, and should not be taken
internally. I cannot attest to this, as I have eaten this herb for
quite some time. I would recommend eating it with care.
The following text is
meant for informational purposes only. It is not meant to diagnose or
treat any illness or injury. Always consult with a physician or other
qualified medical care provider concerning the diagnosis and treatment of
any illness or injury.
The plant is said to possess
anti-carcinogenic properties. Cherokee Indians used a tea brewed
from the aerial parts as a blood purifier. Also used as an
appetite stimulator. Europeans used poulticed leaves to treat