AMERICAN WINTERCRESS

Barbarea verna

Cabbage Family [Brassicaceae]

month8may month8jun month8june month8jul month8july

status
statusZneophyte
flower
flower8yellow
inner
inner8cream
morph
morph8actino
petals
petalsZ4
stem
stem8round
stem
stem8fluted

20th April 2012, Foxfield, Broughton in Furness, Cumbria. Photo: © RWD
There are four Wintercresses, all similar, but this one has the largest flowers at up to 10mm across (but down to 7mm at which it can overlap with both Winter-cress (Barbarea vulgaris) and Early Wintercress) (Barbarea intermedia).


20th April 2012, Foxfield, Broughton in Furness, Cumbria. Photo: © RWD
Grows up to 60cm tall. Stems stiff and often angular.


20th April 2012, Foxfield, Broughton in Furness, Cumbria. Photo: © RWD
Flowers 10 to 7mm across.


20th April 2012, Foxfield, Broughton in Furness, Cumbria. Photo: © RWD
Four light-green sepals surround the flowers.


20th April 2012, Foxfield, Broughton in Furness, Cumbria. Photo: © RWD
Un-opened flower buds cluster together near the top.


20th April 2012, Foxfield, Broughton in Furness, Cumbria. Photo: © RWD
The flowers have four petals, with cream coloured pollen.


20th April 2012, Foxfield, Broughton in Furness, Cumbria. Photo: © RWD
With a central and slightly protruding style.


20th April 2012, Foxfield, Broughton in Furness, Cumbria. Photo: © RWD
Petals about twice as long as sepals.


20th April 2012, Foxfield, Broughton in Furness, Cumbria. Photo: © RWD
The most distinct feature separating the Wintergreens is the shape of both the stem leaves and the basal rosette of leaves. Stem leaves are all pinnately lobed with more gap than lobe.


20th April 2012, Foxfield, Broughton in Furness, Cumbria. Photo: © RWD
The stem leaves have rounded auricles that half-wrap around the stem which the otherwise similar Early Wintercress lacks. (But which both Winter-cress and Small-flowered Wintercress also possess).


20th April 2012, Foxfield, Broughton in Furness, Cumbria. Photo: © RWD
Stems fluted or angular in places, round in others. End-lobe of stem leaves is is small (larger in Early Wintercress).


20th April 2012, Foxfield, Broughton in Furness, Cumbria. Photo: © RWD
Auricles half-rounded, but with square inner corners.


20th April 2012, Foxfield, Broughton in Furness, Cumbria. Photo: © RWD
Basal leaves also pinnate, but not as narrow as stem leaves. End-lobe of basal leaves is oval (larger in Winter-cress).


20th April 2012, Foxfield, Broughton in Furness, Cumbria. Photo: © RWD
Stem leaf (centre left) in comparison to basal leaves in same photo. Has more lobes on the basal leaves.
Compared to American Winter-cress which has the largest flowers (7-10mm across) and more than one fruit >4cm long , American Winter-cress is easily mistaken for :

Not to be confused with : Watercresses nor American Willowherb (Epilobium ciliatum) [plants with similar names]

Easily mistaken for : other Winter-cresses (see captions)

No relation to : Wintergreens, Winter Aconite, Winter Jasmine or Winter Heliotrope [plants with similar names].

Has yellow flowers with four petals, as does Hedge Mustard, Perennial Rocket, Eastern Rocket, Tall Rocket, Russian Rocket, London Rocket, False London Rocket, Hairy Rocket, Flixweed, Woad, Warty Cabbage, Treacle Mustard, Tower Mustard, Hoary Mustard, Black Mustard, White Mustard, Annual Wall-Rocket, Perennial Wall-Rocket, Great Yellow-Cress, Creeping Yellow-Cress, Marsh Yellow-cress, Yellow Whitlowgrass, Gold of Pleasure, Wild Cabbage, Isle of Man Cabbage, Bastard Cabbage, Steppe Cabbage, Wallflower Cabbage, Lundy Cabbage, Charlock, Wild Turnip, Oil-Seed Rape and Sea Radish, some of which look quite similar.

The leaves are paler green than the other three Wintercresses, Winter-cress, Early Wintercress and Small-flowered Wintercress. In Winter-cress the stem leaves are just shallowly lobed rather than the pinnately lobed of the other three.

The seed pods are curved inwards and have the shortest styles on top (the terminal cylinder) in comparison to the other three Wintercresses. Like Watercress, the leaves of Wintercress are used as dressings on dinner plates and as salad leaves in their own right.

Grows as a casual in walls, hedge banks and waste places.


  Barbarea verna  ⇐ Global Aspect ⇒ Brassicaceae  

Distribution
 family8Cabbage family8Brassicaceae

 BSBI maps
genus8Barbarea
Barbarea
(Wintercresses)

AMERICAN WINTERCRESS

Barbarea verna

Cabbage Family [Brassicaceae]