Hairy bittercress

Asked April 25, 2020, 7:53 PM EDT

Hi. I found one of my raised veggie beds filled with Hairy bittercress this spring. I asked the folks in the Livonia Gardening FB group about it, and The consensus is Never seen it here before and suddenly this year it’s everywhere. What’s up with this Stuff? Why has it appeared like this and what can we do (besides eat it)?

Wayne County Michigan

3 Responses


I have seen lots of hairy bittercress this year, too. It is an annual or biennial weed that propagates by seed. That would indicate it had a good seed set the previous two years, and we are seeing the result in our extended cool spring weather this year with lots of germinated seed. It is sometime found in potted nursery plants.

If you can remove the plants, or at least the flowers, before the seed drops you can minimize next year’s “crop”.

According to several State Extensions, including Mississippi State, “wild hairy bittercress is edible! It is best to gather in early spring or late fall when the leaves are tender. It adds a peppery bite to raw salads, and can be cooked and added to soups.”

Here is additional information-

I hope this is helpful.

Thank you, Laura! It was pretty eye-opening hearing all those other gardeners in Livonia saying the same thing - we've never seen it before, and this year it's everywhere. I'll pass along your answer to the group. Thank you again, and stay safe!

Younare welcome. Yes, each year we seem to see different plants and-or insects that are having a “good year”.