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Early Wintercress

Barbarea intermedia

Please keep in mind that it is illegal to uproot a plant without the landowner's consent and care should be taken at all times not to damage wild plants. Wild plants should never be picked for pleasure and some plants are protected by law.
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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Brassicaceae (Cabbage)
Also in this family:
Alpine Pennycress, Alpine Rock-cress, American Wintercress, Annual Wall Rocket, Austrian Yellowcress, Awlwort, Bastard Cabbage, Black Mustard, Bristol Rock-cress, Charlock, Common Scurvygrass, Common Whitlowgrass, Coralroot, Creeping Yellowcress, Cuckooflower, Dame's-violet, Danish Scurvygrass, Dittander, Eastern Rocket, English Scurvygrass, Evergreen Candytuft, False London Rocket, Field Pennycress, Field Pepperwort, Flixweed, Garden Arabis, Garden Candytuft, Garden Cress, Garden Radish, Garden Rocket, Garlic Mustard, Glabrous Whitlowgrass, Gold of Pleasure, Great Yellowcress, Greater Cuckooflower, Greater Periwinkle, Greater Swinecress, Hairy Bittercress, Hairy Rock-cress, Hairy Rocket, Hairy Whitlowgrass, Hedge Mustard, Hoary Cress, Hoary Mustard, Hoary Stock, Hoary Whitlowgrass, Honesty, Horseradish, Hutchinsia, Hybrid Watercress, Intermediate Periwinkle, Isle of Man Cabbage, Large Bittercress, Lesser Swinecress, London Rocket, Lundy Cabbage, Marsh Yellowcress, Mountain Scurvygrass, Narrow-fruited Watercress, Narrow-leaved Bittercress, Narrow-leaved Pepperwort, Northern Rock-cress, Northern Yellowcress, Oilseed Rape, Perennial Rocket, Perennial Wall Rocket, Perfoliate Pennycress, Pinnate Coralroot, Purple Rock-cress, Pyrenean Scurvygrass, Rock Whitlowgrass, Russian Rocket, Scottish Scurvygrass, Sea Kale, Sea Radish, Sea Rocket, Sea Stock, Shepherd's Cress, Shepherd's Purse, Small-flowered Wintercress, Smith's Pepperwort, Steppe Cabbage, Swede, Sweet Alyssum, Tall Rocket, Thale Cress, Tower Mustard, Treacle Mustard, Trefoil Cress, Turnip, Wall Whitlowgrass, Wallflower, Wallflower Cabbage, Warty Cabbage, Watercress, Wavy Bittercress, White Mustard, Wild Cabbage, Wild Candytuft, Wild Radish, Wild Turnip, Wintercress, Woad, Yellow Whitlowgrass
Life Cycle:
Biennial or Perennial
Maximum Size:
60 centimetres tall
Fields, hedgerows, roadsides, wasteland, waterside.

Yellow, 4 petals
Dense clusters of yellow flowers. Flowers are 5 to 7mm across in size. The flowers are smaller than those of Wintercress (Barbarea vulgaris). Pollinated by flies, beetles and bees.
The fruit is a cylindrical pod. The seeds ripen from July to September.
An annual or short-lived perennial with pinnately lobed stem leaves. The leaves are alternate along the stems.
Other Names:
Garden Yellowrocket, Medium-flowered Wintercress, Rockcress, Yellow Rocket.
Frequency (UK):
Occasionally seen  

Similar Species

Other Information


Barbarea intermedia is a species of flowering plant in the mustard family known by the common names yellow rocket, intermediate wintercress, or Rocketcress. It is native to Europe and Asia, but it has been introduced and naturalized in many other regions, including North America. It typically grows in moist, disturbed areas such as along roadsides and in waste places, and is considered a noxious weed in some areas. The plant has yellow flowers and leaves that are lobed and toothed. It is considered a biennial or winter annual plant, which means it completes its life cycle within one or two years.


Early Wintercress (Barbarea intermedia) is a common herbaceous perennial plant that is native to Europe and Asia but has been widely introduced in many other regions including North America. This plant is commonly known for its hardy nature and its ability to grow in harsh and disturbed environments, such as roadsides, fields, and waste grounds.

The Early Wintercress is a member of the mustard family and can reach a height of 60 cm. Its leaves are usually green and lobed, and the plant produces yellow flowers in clusters during spring and early summer. The leaves and young stems of this plant are edible and have a bitter taste, which is often used in salads, soups, and other dishes. The plant is also used as a medicinal herb for its antiseptic properties, and it is also believed to have anti-inflammatory and diuretic effects.

The Early Wintercress is very easy to grow and is quite adaptable to different soils and growing conditions. It is generally grown from seeds and can be planted in early spring or autumn. The plant prefers well-drained soil and full sun to partial shade, and it is resistant to frost and drought. Once established, the Early Wintercress can become invasive and is difficult to control, so it is recommended to grow it in pots or designated areas.

The Early Wintercress is a hardy and versatile plant that is commonly used for its edible and medicinal properties. It is very easy to grow and can be a great addition to any garden, as long as it is grown in a controlled environment. Whether you are looking to add some bitterness to your dishes or to use this plant for its medicinal benefits, the Early Wintercress is definitely worth considering.

In addition to its culinary and medicinal uses, Early Wintercress has also been used for ornamental purposes. Its bright yellow flowers add a pop of color to the garden during the spring and early summer, and its attractive leaves make it a great choice for mixed borders or rock gardens. The plant can also be used as a groundcover or in mass plantings to create a natural look.

However, it's important to note that the Early Wintercress can also be considered an invasive species in some areas. In North America, it has escaped cultivation and can be found growing wild in disturbed areas, competing with native plants for resources. As a result, it's essential to monitor its growth and prevent it from spreading if you grow it in your garden.

Overall, the Early Wintercress is a versatile and hardy plant that can be used in a variety of ways in the garden. Whether you are looking to add some bitterness to your dishes, utilize its medicinal properties, or simply add a pop of yellow to your garden, Early Wintercress is definitely worth considering. Just be sure to grow it in a controlled environment and monitor its growth to prevent it from becoming invasive.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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