Weed of the Week: Bittercress

April 6, 2010 in Extension

Bittercress is one of the first broadleaf weeds to appear in PA lawns during early spring. A member of the mustard family (Cruciferae), it can act as a winter or summer annual, or as a biennial. This weed can overwinter in a vegetative state, or it can germinate from seed during cool, moist conditions. Bittercress is a prolific seed producer, and can produce several generations during a single growing season. Identification features include a rosette of pinnately-compound leaves, with a terminal leaflet. Seedheads are erect, branching, and produce small (1/4 – 1/2 inch) white flowers at the ends of stems. After petals drop, long (1 inch), narrow pods form, and abruptly dehisce, shooting seeds two to three feet from the pod. Bittercress can be controlled with most conventional broadleaf herbicide mixtures.