Cardamine amara

Botanical Name ; Cardamine amara
Family: Brassicaceae
Genus: Cardamine
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Brassicales

Common Names: Bitter Cress or Large Bittercress

Habitat ;Cardamine amara is native to  Most of Europe, including Britain, north to 64° N., east to the Balkans and W. Asia.
Grows  by springs, in fens and on streamsides, preferring a peaty soil. Often found in trickling water. Often the dominant ground flora in alder woods with moving damp water.

Description:
Cardamine amara is a  perennial herb  growing to 0.6m. The leaves can have different forms, going from minute to medium-sized. They can be pinnate or bipinnate. They are basal and cauline (growing on the upper part of the stem), with narrow tips. They are rosulate (forming a rosette). The blade margins can be entire, serrate or dentate. The stem internodes lack firmness.

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The radially symmetrical flowers grow in a racemose many-flowered inflorescence or in corymbs. The white, pink or purple flowers are minute to medium-sized. The petals are longer than the sepals. The fertile flowers are hermaphroditic.

The fruits are long, thin dehiscent pods with many (20-100) seeds. In some regions this plant is considered a nuisance; one author observes, “Weeding this little pest is decidedly unsatisfying, for when its fully ripe pods are touched, they split open and shoot out their seeds, thus spitefully sowing another crop.”

It is hardy to zone 5 and is not frost tender. It is in flower from April to June, and the seeds ripen from May to September. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, flies, beetles, Lepidoptera (Moths & Butterflies). The plant is self-fertile.

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Cultivation :Easily grown in most moist soils. Prefers a moist humus rich soil in shade or semi-shade. Plants are hardy to at least -20°c. An invasive plant spreading freely by self-sowing, it is best suited to the wild garden. A polymorphic species.

Propagation: Seed – sow outdoors in situ in a shady position in April.

The plant prefers light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It requires moist soil.

Edible Uses:
Edible Parts: Leaves.

Leaves – raw. A hot cress-like flavour, nice in small quantities in a salad and available all year round in most years. A somewhat bitter flavour.

Medicinal Uses
Antiscorbutic; Diuretic; Stimulant.Used medicinally since early times as a stomachic

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

 

Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cardamine
http://digedibles.com/database/plants.php?Cardamine+amara
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_AB.htm
http://luirig.altervista.org/schedeit/ae/cardamine_amara.htm

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