Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
Bitter Wintercress (Barbarea vulgaris)
- Family: Mustard (Brassicaceae)
- Flowering: April-June.
- Field Marks: This is the only yellow-flowered mustard with completely smooth pinnately lobed leaves and long, cylindrical fruits with a short terminal beak.
- Habitat: Wet meadows, roadsides, cultivated fields, fallow fields.
- Habit: Annual or biennial herbs with a taproot.
- Stems: Erect, branched, smooth, up to 2 1/2 feet tall.
- Leaves: Alternate and basal, deeply pinnately divided into 3-9 lobes, smooth with wavy edges, up to 8 inches long.
- Flowers: Several in racemes, yellow, up to 1/2 inch wide, on slender stalks.
- Sepals: 4, green.
- Petals: 4, free, yellow, about 1/3 inch long.
- Stamens: 6.
- Pistils: Ovary superior.
- Fruits: Pods cylindrical, smooth, up to 1 1/2 inches long, with a sterile beak about 1/8 inch long, on slender stalks about 1/4 inch long.
- Notes: The young stems and leaves of this species can be cooked and eaten as a vegetable.
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