Tag Archives: hairy bitter cress

365 Frankendael day 240

This is my last post from Amsterdam for a little while. If you see any herbs in the city, which you would like to photograph and email to me, then please feel free to do so. I’d really like to keep this project alive whilst I’m away – to show that there really are edible and medicinal herbs growing in cities like Amsterdam, every day of the year.


Here is a young Hollyhock plant, spring up most likely from seeds shred from nearby plants.


Here is Hairy bitter cress, it makes a tasty peppery addition to winter salads or is very nutritious when lightly cooked a leafy vegetable.

365 Frankendael day 217

There are still Ginkgo fruit/nuts falling ripe from street trees in Amsterdam.


Here’s some tasty and nourishing Hairy Bitter Cress, harvested from a roof terrace pot today. This wild food plant should be available right into the winter. It makes a welcome, peppery addition to a meal.


Here is Greater Celandine, its toxic orange milky sap can be a useful remedy for marks on the skin, such as small benign growths.


Hairy bittercress – A free lunch


I did a spot of roof gardening this morning and was very pleased to find this herb growing in a neglected plant pot. It’s thought of as weed by most and yet it’s providing at least two services here; covering lots of surface soil thus acting as a green mulch and also it’s soon to be part of my food!  Hairy bittercress (Cardamine hirsuta) spreads readily by seed and is very successful at monopolising open ground. According to Wikipedia it can be quite a nuisance in lawns, in fact there are many articles on the internet dedicated to eradicating this plant. What a waste, it tastes so good and I’d prefer a useful mixed “weed” lawn to a monoculture of grass any day! It’s very welcome in my plant pots, I’d also say it’s non-invasive in this situation as it’s very easy to pull out completely when you need to.

Hairy bitter cress is part of the brassica/mustard family and is often confused with chickweed. Although it’s habit of growing out like a star from it’s base, it’s flowers and of course the hairs, are quite different from chickweed. Both are annuals. In any case, confusing it with chickweed may be a good way to get to know it. Both are useful and nutritious, full of vitamins and minerals, tasting peppery and great additions to salad.

I’ll let these come on for a few more days in the plant pot before harvesting the strongest plants and rehousing the others.