Cardamine – Bittercress
Bittercresses are hairless to stiff-hairy, annual to perennial herbs with simple hairs, often with thickened and tuber-like, sometimes elongate and slender rhizomes. The leaves are simple to pinnately divided, often basal and more or less arranged in a rosette, as well as alternate on the stem.
The flowers are arranged in clusters on ascending to erect flower stalks. The outer 2 sepals are more or less pouch-shaped at the base. The 4 petals are white to pink or rose, usually with a narrower lower part called the claw. There are 6 stamens. The fruit pods are linear, slightly compressed, readily and usually explosively opening when ripe, the valves very indistinctly 1-nerved near the base, but usually not nerved above. The style is about 0.5-8 mm long. The seeds are arranged in 1 row, not winged, not slimy when wet.
The genus has about 150 species, mostly of the Temperate Zone, usually in moist habitats. The name comes from an ancient Greek name, kardamon.
Bittercresses add a refreshening, peppery flavor to foods. They can be eaten raw in salads, but they are usually better cooked in soups, stews and other dishes.
Guide to Identify Presented Species of Genus Cardamine
C. breweri – Brewer's Bittercress
Perennial, 20-60 cm tall, mostly hairless. Flowers white, c. 1 cm wide, sepals about 2 mm long, hairless. Leaves broad-ovate, the upper with small, unequal side lobes. Wet places.
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