Last year I discovered a few of these in my garden… as I started to pull them up, and disturbed the plant, the seeds flew upward as if the plant were spitting in my face.
I looked it up and found that it’s called Hairy Bittercress. It’s scientific name is: Cardamine hirsuta L.. and here’s the USDA website about these plants: http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=cahi3
I didn’t have too much of it last year, but found I have soooo much now, it’s everywhere. And with a propogation mechanism of spitting it’s pointy seeds high into the air and around itself, it’s no wonder!
Right now, the plants are young and the seeds are not yet spitting. I recommend pulling them up now, once they start spitting their seeds, they will spread everywhere.
I found a site about foraging these “weeds” which I found really intriguing.
To gather the hairy bittercress, we just lift up the cluster of leaf stalks and cut them with a knife near the ground. Then we wash the greens and pick through them, discarding the yellow leaves and pinching off some of the larger stems and flower stalks. They add a peppery bite to raw salads, and can be cooked with soups or in a recipe like other greens. We did eat a big salad with a yogurt and bittercress dressing for dinner one night, and may try some potatoes cooked with bittercress and field onions into a breakfast hash this week.
I also learned something new about how to get great images from Flickr and use the proper copyright attributions.