White-flowered plant going to seed in my lawn

Asked April 5, 2020, 11:16 AM EDT

This small plant is going to seed all over my lawn; what is it? Native or invasive? This is the first year I've noticed it, though that doesn't mean it hasn't been here all along. Thank you!

Montgomery County Maryland

1 Response

Hi - This is called hairy bittercress (Cardamine hirsuta). It is an annual weed that thrives in the cool spring weather. Eventually the plants die down when the weather gets warm, but they are notorious for their effective seed dispersal prior then! It tends to show up in bare spots or where lawn is mowed too short.

In addition, the Brooklyn Botanic Garden has a good article that goes into further detail about hairy bittercress, https://www.bbg.org/news/weed_of_the_month_hairy_bittercress

Montgomery County’s pesticide law bans the use of most synthetic pesticides, including herbicides, insecticides, and fungicides on private lawns, playgrounds, mulched recreation areas, and childcare facilities. Organic pesticides are allowed. There are some exemptions for the use of synthetic pesticides, including for biting insects, indoor pests, and tree and shrub pests. Go to the following website for information regarding the law and organic lawn care information, www.MontgomeryCountyMD.gov/lawns

You can also ask them questions. Email AskDep@MontgomeryCountyMD.gov or call 240-777-0311.