An annual or occasional biennial when late germinated seedlings carry through to the following year. It is an ephemeral plant as it can mature and produce seed quickly, giving rise to several generations in a year. As it is a member of the Cruciferae Family and related to the mustards, the leaves are milder in flavour to Rocket, but make a tangy addition to a salad - they are best picked when the plant is young before the flowers appear. The seed
capsules explode at the slightest touch when they are mature, dispersing their contents widely, but if consumed earlier they have a more intense peppery taste than the leaves.
Hoe or hand pull before flowering, remove uprooted plants if flowers or seed capsules are
present as they can mature and disperse the seed if left lying on the ground. Tackle in early spring as removing the first plants of the season should reduce the numbers later. Also when planting remove the top 3 or 4 centimetres of the compost as many bought in plants have a ready supply of seed, if not the weeds themselves, dwelling on the surface.
Very similar is Wavy Bittercress (C. flexuosa) which grows slightly larger - up to 23 cm. The stalks on the leaves do not have hairs and the flowers have six stamens whereas Hairy Bittercress flowers have four, but growth is similar.