Winter-cress - Barbarea vulgaris

Alternative names
Common Winter-cress

Medium to tall hairless plant. Basal leaves with 2 to 5 pairs of lateral lobes, uppermost leaves unlobed, toothed. Flowers bright yellow, 7 to 9 mm, in often branched racemes. Buds hairless, fruit 15 to 30 mm stiffly erect.

Similar Species

other Barbarea; other yellow crucifers

Identification difficulty
ID guidance

Basal leaves pinnate; seed-pods appressed (folded up against stem); upper leaves simple or lobed < halfway to midrib; flower-buds glabrous

Recording advice

General photo of plant in habitat; details of basal and stem leaves. 


Water margins, damp meadows and ditches.

When to see it

May to August.

Life History

Biennial or perennial.

UK Status

Fairly common throughout Britain especially in the south-east.

VC55 Status

Fairly common in Leicestershire and Rutland. In the 1979 Flora survey of Leicestershire it was found in 393 of the 617 tetrads.

In the current Checklist (Jeeves, 2011) it is listed as Native, occasional

Leicestershire & Rutland Map


Yellow squares = NBN records (all known data)
Coloured circles = NatureSpot records: 2020+ | 2015-2019 | pre-2015

UK Map

Species profile

Common names
Common Winter-Cress, Winter-cress
Species group:
Records on NatureSpot:
First record:
10/05/2006 (Calow, Graham)
Last record:
17/06/2023 (Mabbett, Craig)

Total records by month

% of records within its species group

10km squares with records

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