Cardamine hirsuta L.

Common Bitter-cress

Sp. Pl. 655 (1753) APNI

Taxonomic status:Accepted

Occurrence status:Present

Establishment means:Naturalised

Taprooted annual, to 35 cm high; flowering stems erect, glabrous to very sparsely hairy. Leaves thin with scattered hairs c. 0.2 mm long on the upper surface; basal leaves rosetted, mostly 2–6(–8) cm long, pinnate with (1–)2–4(–6) pairs of lateral pinnae and a larger, commonly reniform terminal leaflet; cauline leaves 0–3(–5) reducing in size towards apex of plant, 1–4(–8) cm long, pinna pairs mostly 1–3, most pinnae slightly angular or lobed. Racemes usually many-flowered; sepals 1.5–2.5 mm long, with a few hairs; petals 3–4 mm long, white; stamens usually 4; mature style c. 0.5 mm long. Fruits inclined at less than 45° to rachis, clearly overtopping open flowers in the same inflorescence, frequently sparsely hairy, 1.5–2.8 cm long; pedicels 5–10 mm long; seeds c. 1.0 mm long. Flowers all year.

*CVU, *EGL, *EGU, *GipP, *Gold, *HNF, *HSF, *MuM, *NIS, *OtP, *OtR, *SnM, *Strz, *VAlp, *VRiv, *VVP. All States except NT. Native to much of the Northern Hemisphere. Common weed in the Melbourne area occurring in garden beds, paving cracks and sometimes forming large colonies in lawns; also elsewhere in moist habitats, predominantly in eastern Victoria.

Cardamine hirsuta is generally found in more exposed, drier localities than the similar C. flexuosa. An unusual form has been collected from Metcalfe Flora Reserve near Castlemaine and Paradise Falls near Whitfield. This form does not form a well-developed basal rosette, its leaves have only 1–2 pairs of lateral pinnae, the upper cauline leaf is not markedly reduced compared to basal leaves and the inflorescence is fewer-flowered.

Source: Thompson, I.R. (1996). Cardamine. In: Walsh, N.G.; Entwisle, T.J. (eds), Flora of Victoria Vol. 3, Dicotyledons Winteraceae to Myrtaceae. Inkata Press, Melbourne.
Updated by: Val Stajsic, 2018-12-10
Hero image
Distribution map
life Life
kingdom Plantae
phylum Tracheophyta
superorder Rosanae
order Brassicales
family Brassicaceae
genus Cardamine
Higher taxa


Source: AVH (2014). Australia's Virtual Herbarium, Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria, <>. Find Cardamine hirsuta in AVH ; Victorian Biodiversity Atlas, © The State of Victoria, Department of Environment and Primary Industries (published Dec. 2014) Find Cardamine hirsuta in Victorian Biodiversity Atlas
  Bioregion Occurrence status Establishment means
Murray Mallee present introduced
Victorian Volcanic Plain present naturalised
Victorian Riverina present naturalised
Gippsland Plain present naturalised
Otway Plain present naturalised
Goldfields present naturalised
Central Victorian Uplands present naturalised
Northern Inland Slopes present naturalised
East Gippsland Lowlands present naturalised
East Gippsland Uplands present naturalised
Highlands-Southern Fall present naturalised
Highlands-Northern Fall present naturalised
Otway Ranges present introduced
Strzelecki Ranges present introduced
Victorian Alps present introduced
Snowy Mountains present introduced

State distribution

Distribution map
Western Australia
South Australia
New South Wales
Australian Capital Territory