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Weed Identification

hairy bittercress



Scientific Name

Cardamine hirsuta


This winter annual flowers from late winter into spring. Sometimes, it can also be a summer annual.


Pinnate leaves are in basal rosettes and are formed from 2 to 4 pairs of leaflets arranged alternately along the central leaf stem. The leaf segments are round to wedge shaped, with hairy lower petioles near the base. Upper surface of leaves are also hairy. Has a large terminal leaf.

Identifying Characteristics

The plant grows erect, reaching 12 inches in height with a taproot. Cotyledons are round, hairy, and occur on petioles. It can be often confused with Calepina, but calepina does not have the rounded leaflets.

Flower Seed Head

White flowers occur in dense clusters at the end of flowering stems. Individual flowers are 2 to 3 mm long, and have 4 petals.

Seed Fruit

Seeds form in a flattened capsule 3/4 to 1 1/4 inches in length. When disturbed, the capsules can expel the seeds, which can travel up to 10 feet away.

Where Found

Roadsides, turf, gardens, disturbed areas, and fields throughout the state.

Growth Habit

upright and nonwoody

Thorns or Spines

not present

Approximate Flower Diameter


Dominant Flower Color


Flower Symmetry

radial symmetery
bilateral symmetry
not symmetrical

Leaf Hairs

has hairs

Leaf Arrangement


Leaf Margin


Leaf Structure


Leaf Stalk

shorter than leaf

Stem Hairs

has hairs

Stem Cross Section

round or oval

Milky Sap

not present

Root Structure


Life Cycle

winter annual


not present

Plant Type