Backyard foraging #2 - Wavy Bittercress

Cardamine flexuosa, Wavy Bittercress

This is the plant that sparked these adventures into backyard foraging. There is an abundance of it outside my back door and as I started to pull it up it in a virtuous fit of weeding, to occurred to me that these were edible and perhaps I shouldn’t be letting them go to waste.

As you might guess, Bittercress has a cress-like flavour but its not at all bitter. Some liken it to a cross between cress and rocket. The leaves and roots are edible, and you can add it to salads, salsa, pesto – but don’t bother cooking it as this would remove the flavour.

The Bittercress in my garden has hairy stems so I initially assumed was Hairy Bittercress. The precedent of naming contradictions continues in that Hairy Bittercress has hairless stems. It would appear the plant in my agarden is Wavy Bittercress - they are very similar in size and appearance and equally edible.

Wavy Bittercress favours damp, disturbed ground in shady places. It has small white flowers of 4 petals, 3-4 mm. They have distinctive, small round green rounded leaves in opposite pairs. It spreads through exploding seedpods, but uprooting plants on common land in UK is not allowed.

See our do's and don'ts of foraging in the first Backyard Foraging post.


At the risk of sounding officious, Realm and the author can take no responsibility for any actions inspired by this post. So research, research, research; and stay safe!


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Manchester School of Architecture

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