Bitter Cress
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Bitter Cress
aturalized Photo: Thingnam Girija
Common name: Bitter Cress, Lesser Swinecress, Wart cress • Hindi: पित्तपापड़ा Pitpapra • Kannada: ಗಬ್ಬುಕೊತ್ತಂಬರಿ Gabbu kothambari • Urdu: जंगली हालोन Jangli halon جنگلی ھالون
Botanical name: Lepidium didymum    Family: Brassicaceae (Mustard family)
Synonyms: Coronopus didymus

Lesser Swinecress is a foul smelling plant. Stems trailing or rising up, multiple from the base, radiating from a central point, from a long taproot, to 30 cm long, herbaceous, smooth, green. Leaves are alternately arranged, stalked, pinnate, up to 4-5 cm long, 2 cm broad, hairless. Divisions of the leaves are opposite, lobed or divided again, pointed, linear-elliptic to linear oblong. Apices of ultimate divisions with a somewhat hardened point. There is a rosette of leaves at the base. Rosette leaves are stalked, 6-10 x 1.5-2 cm; stem leaves smaller, usually pinnately divided, rarely 2-pinnatifid, 1-4 x 0.5-1.5 cm. Small raceme up to 4 cm long, opposite one of the stem leaves, compact in flower, quickly elongating in fruit. Flowers are greenish, minute. Petals absent. Sepals 4, to 1 mm long, 0.75 mm broad. An objectionable flavor is found in the milk of dairy cattle which graze on pastures infested with Bitter Cress. Bitter Cress is native to South America, but now naturalized world over.

Identification credit: Anurag Rawat Photographed in Delhi.

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