Information on Winter-cress

Common Name: Winter-cress
Scientific Name: Barbarea vulgaris
Irish Name: Treabhach
Family Group: Brassicaceae
Distribution: View Map (Courtesy of the BSBI)
Flowering Period


Click for list of all flowering by month
Winter-cress could sometimes be confused with:

Winter-cress, Medium-flowered,

This is a perennial wildflower which grows on waste ground, laneways and roadsides.  It carries heads of small bright, yellow, 4-petalled flowers (7-9mm across) from May to July on ridged stalks reaching 85-90cm high. Its dark green leaves are shiny, pinnately lobed with the end lobe being longer and wider than the others.  The seedpods are long (15-30mm) and stiffly erect.  This is a native plant belonging to the Brassicaceae  family.

I found this little plant on a wet walk through a pine forest near Laragh, Co Wicklow in 2008 and I photographed it at that time. 

If you are satisfied you have correctly identified this plant, please submit your sighting to the National Biodiversity Data Centre

Winter-cress
Winter-cress

Winter-cress was known as a good source of Vitamin C in the days before it could be more easily obtained through citrus fruits imported to us from afar. 

The scientific name of this plant, 'Barbarea', derives from the patron saint of miners, Saint Barbara.  The leaves of Wintercress were used to cover the wounds caused to the miners by quarrying explosives.

(I would appreciate confirmation or otherwise of this identification as some of the features of the plant I saw and photographed are not a perfect 'fit' with all of the sources of information to hand. Over to the experts.)