Hairy Bittercress is also called Bittercress, Flickweed or Swinecress

Hairy Bittercress (Cardamine hirsuta).

Hairy Bittercress is also called Bittercress, Swinecress and Flick Weed. Bittercress is a Winter annual broadleaf weed and is a member of the  mustard family. For more information, please check out our weed ID chart. Bittercress is a good indicator weed of poorly drained, wet soils, and often is found in disturbed areas.

 After you finish reading this, you will be able to:

  • Identify Hairy Bittercress, Bittercress, Swinecress and Flick Weed.
  • Know the habitat of Hairy Bittercress, Bittercress, Swinecress and Flick Weed.
  • Know the best cultural and chemical options to control Hairy Bittercress, Bittercress, Swinecress and Flick Weed.


Hairy Bittercress is typically one of the first weeds to appear in spring, but is capable of growing year-round when suitable conditions exist.


Bittercress Identification.

Flick Weed is a weed in the ACT, NSW, NT, QLD, SA, TAS, VIC, and WA.

Category: broadleaf (Dicot).

Flower: It has small, 4 petalled white flowers, which are around 3 mm long

Height: Bittercress is a Slender annual herb that grows to 35 cm.

Leaves: Flick Weed has thin, sparsely hairy leaves that form a rosette at the base. These leaves have 1-7 leaflets, and the side leaflets are somewhat circular with the terminal leaflet being kidney shaped. On both sides of the leaves are numerous tiny hairs.

Reproduction: Forms lime green seed pods up to 25 mm long, that flick the seeds out when ripe. These seeds disprese 1-2 metres from the plant, and each plant produces 600 to 1000 seeds.

Comments: The seeds tend to germinate in the Autumn or Winter, and mainly dormant in cold weather. They resume their growth in the spring when they then produce more seeds. It has a 12-week lifecycle.

Habitat: Widespread weed inhabiting most gardens and thin lawns. It is common in damp, sunny or disturbed soils.





How to remove Bittercress from your lawn.

Both cultural and chemical control will remove Flick Weed from your lawn and turfgrass.



Cultural control.

Prevention is the best way to manage this weed. Hand weeding sparse polulations can get on top of this weed, but make sure you do this before it reaches the flowering stage. This is because the seeds can disperse when you handle them. Once you pull the weeds up, remove them from the area and dispose of them. They can continue to disperse seeds even when you remove them from the soil.

If you frequently mow in the Spring, this removes any flowers before seeds develop. Selecting the correct turf grass for you site is also important. Proper fertilizing, mowing, and watering will encourage turf growth and reduce the chances of weed establishment.




Chemical control.

Several post-emergents are available for Bittercress control. We recommend Contra M. (Do not use Contra M and Casper on Buffalo grass). Treatment is best over the entire area rather than spot treating.

Non selective options include Glyphosate (Rapid Fire 800). If you use this and water quality is an issue then we recommend the use of ProForce Manta Ray.