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Bittercress: It’s an Edible Weed!

What happens after pulling your weeds? Most of us put them either on the compost pile or into the yard debris bin. Most of know we can eat dandelions…but there are many other edible weeds also.

The Little Western Bittercress, Cardamine oligosperma, a western US native, is on the edible list.

Also known as the “pop-weed” or “shot-weed” due to its habit of shooting the dry seeds when touched, these little weeds commonly invade gardens and containers. They grow well in sun and shade, wet and dry locations. Rather attractive, the 3-8″ wide round clumps of lush green leaves look “good enough to eat.” Compound leaves have a large heart-shaped leaflet at the end with smaller heart lateral leaves below. White flowers form on 2″ to 5″ tall stalks. These mature and dry to form the seeds with the effective habit of transportation.

Luckily, it is easy to recognize this plant while growing in the lawn or flowerbed. It is also easy to eradicate…just choose your method. Pull the weeds by hand and apply 2-4″ of mulch on the garden bed. This makes it difficult for seeds to germinate. If they do, they are easy to remove from the mulch. Alternatively, use chemicals such as glyphosate or glufosinate. Each effectively kills the actively growing plants. Garden centers carry non-selective systemic herbicides containing these chemicals and Round-up is a popular choice.

If you chose to pull the weeds by hand, and you know there have been no harmful chemicals used in the garden, you may add it to your salad for a tangy radish taste. Of course, don’t eat the weeds if you have sprayed them. Either leave in place or put into the compost pile or yard debris container.

Bon app├ętit.

Western Garden Nursery

2756 Vineyard Ave.
Pleasanton, CA 94566

Phone: 925-462-1760

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