Isles of Scilly Wildflower Of The Week - Hairy Bittercress

Isles of Scilly Wildflower Of The Week - Hairy Bittercress.

Isles of Scilly Wildflower Of The Week - Hairy Bittercress.

This week's Isles of Scilly Wildflower Of The Week was Hairy Bittercress - Cardamine Hirsuta.

Hairy Bittercress is found on all the inhabited islands and likes nice shallow soil edges on paths. A good place to look for it in early spring is the park in the middle of town on St Mary's.

This small weedy crucifer can grow up to 30 cm, but is usually much much shorter. The thin and long seed pods grow taller than the small white 4 petalled, 4 stemmed, flowers. There is also Wavy Bittercress here that looks very like Hairy Bittercress.

With Wavy the pods are below or only slightly above the flowers and the stem zig-zags, hence the name wavy. If you whip out your magnifying glass you will see, not for stamens, but 6. Hairy bittercress is only sparsely hairy.

The botanical name, Cardamine Hirsuta, means a cress that is hairy. When the seeds are ripe a touch will cause the pod to coil tightly and send the seeds flying. This way of spreading the seeds away from the parent plant is called Ballochory and may well have given rise to the lovely common name from the New Forest of Jumping Jesus.

Look out for little seed pods rising above tiny white flowers in shallow soils by the edge of the paths and give them a poke to see if they will jump away.

You can listen to Liz's Wildflower Of The Week below and Liz will have a brand new wildflower for you next Wednesday at 10:30am.