1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (18 votes, average: 4.44 out of 5)


Edible Edible Spring Spring Winter Winter

Although slightly bitter this cress can be found from December on and was probably important as a fresh green herb to early man in the winter months.

Hedgerow Type
Common Names Wintercress
Scientific Name Barbarea vulgaris
Season Start Dec
Season End Jun
Please note that each and every hedgerow item you come across may vary in appearance to these photos.


Deeply lobed, dark green shiny leaves.


Typical cruciform (four petals in a cross) yellow brassica flowers.

Flower Buds

The unopened flower buds look similar to broccoli.

Flower Stem

Only develops a stem for flowering which is slightly ridged and smooth.

Seed Pods

Long, thin and erect.


Hedgerows, flower beds and wood edges.

Possible Confusion

Other cresses.


Hot and cress like with a peppery, slightly bitter taste.




The leaves and unopened flower buds can be eaten raw or cooked and the flowers can be used in salads.


6 comments for Wintercress

  1. Damo says:

    Can this be confused with anything you wouldn’t want to eat?

    1. Poppy Ives says:

      Not really, it’s quite a distinctive plant, but I have seen it growing beside Hemlock Water Dropwort quite a few times.

  2. Andy Murray says:

    We appear to have this in abundance in our garden following a year when the garden was allowed to go to nature rather than being cultivated. Possibly arriving following on from all the wild bird seed that was dispersed last year. But its now late April and I have only just discovered what this is and its possible uses. Is there a time when you shouldn’t eat this plant?

    1. Eric Biggane says:

      By the time the plant has flowered, the leaves will be a bit tougher and probably more bitter but it will not harm you at any time.

  3. Ash says:

    Can this be confused with the black mustard plant?

    1. Eric Biggane says:

      They can look similar, tasting the leaves will be the beat way as Mustard starts sweet before it gets hot and Wintercress has a more bitter taste.

Post a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *