Cardamine amara - Large bittercress

Cardamine Amara
Cardamine Amara
Great Witcombe
13th April 2007
Cardamine amara is recognisably similar to cardamine pratensis (cuckoo flower) and to cardamine hirsuta (hairy bittercress). However it is a more robust and more succulent looking plant than either of those.

Amara comes from the latin amarus meaning bitter, pungent or caustic! Most cardamines taste peppery - like watercress - rather than bitter. I first met cardamine Amara at Salhouse Broad when I tasted it and it was quite different! For it is both peppery and - well, to my taste not properly bitter, but the taste it does have is quite peculiar as well as being strong. It's almost like a bitter chemical solvent or an unpleasant antiseptic medication. It's probably an acquired taste, but could be a useful addition in small quantities to a spring salad. So it is probably this plant that gives rise to the name bittercress for the group,

Cardamine amara grows is damp conditions as you can see in the photograph at Walks with the cats - Witcombe - no. 28

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