Bitter foam herb
|Bitter foam herb|
Bitter foam herb
Appearance and leaf
The bitter foam herb grows as a perennial herbaceous plant . The prostrate stems drive rooting runners with basal leaves that do not form rosettes . In the spring of the second or following year, ascending, furrowed, heavily leafed stems form, which reach a height of 10 to 60 centimeters. The mostly unbranched, bald or hairy, angular stem is medulla-filled.
The alternate leaves are stalked. The leaf blade is unpaired and pinnate and usually consists of two to four, sometimes up to eight pairs of leaflets and a single pinnate leaf at the end that is slightly larger than the others.
Inflorescence, infructescence, flower, fruit and seeds
Two to thirty flowers stand together in a terminal, initially short, umbrella-clustered leveled one, which later extends into a loose, cluster-like inflorescence until fruit ripe . The hermaphrodite flowers are four-fold with a double flower envelope . The four adjoining sepals are egg-shaped and green. The four whitish to rarely pink petals are 7 to 12 millimeters long, and thus about three times as long as the sepals. The flowers contain six stamens with purple anthers (differentiating from the similar watercress ).
The flowering period lasts from April to July.
On upright fruit stalks protruding from the stem stand rod-shaped, straight pods that have a length of 2 to 4 centimeters and a diameter of 1 to 2 millimeters. The seeds are in a row in each compartment. The fruit flaps open shortly before ripening or when they are touched, rolling up explosively and the seeds are thrown out.
The chromosome number of the species is 2n = 16, only in subsp. austriaca = 32.
The bitter foam herb is native to Europe and West Asia and is quite common in Central Europe. It grows preferentially in the planar-collinen (flat and hill country) sometimes to subalpine altitude . In the Allgäu Alps it rises west of the Rappensee in Bavaria up to 2050 m above sea level.
The bitter foam herb prefers nutrient-rich, loamy-clay soils that have been seeped by cool water. It is therefore mainly found in spring meadows, forest swamps, ditches and alder forests . It occurs less frequently in damp and wet meadows , since as a semi-light plant it predominantly colonizes locations that are at least partially shaded. At its locations it often occurs in larger stands that are formed by runners. Propagation by seeds plays a less important role. It is a character species of the Montio-Cardaminetea class, but also occurs in lower altitudes in associations of the Alnion or Alno-Ulmion associations.
The plant is high in vitamin C , which is why it was used as a remedy for scurvy in ancient times. It also contains the mustard oil glycoside glucocochlearin , from which butyl mustard oil is split off under the action of water. This gives the plant a pungent taste and at the same time gave the bitter cress its name, derived from the Old High German word cresso 'spicy'. A bitter substance that has not yet been investigated in more detail ensures the bitter taste that continues to give it its name.
The generic name Cardamine is derived from the Greek word κάςδαμων ( kárdamon ) for cress. The specific epithet amara owes this species to the taste of its leaves and is derived from the Latin word amárus, -a, for bitter.
The bitter foam herb is divided into the following subspecies:
- Cardamine amara subsp. amara : widespread in Europe with the exception of the Iberian Peninsula and parts of the Balkan Peninsula.
- Cardamine amara subsp. austriaca Marhold : in the Alpine countries (Austria, the Czech Republic, Germany (Southeast Bavaria), Switzerland, Italy, Slovenia).
- Cardamine amara subsp. balcanica Marhold, Ančev & Kit Tan (Syn. Cardamine barbaraeoides auct.): in south-west Bulgaria, north-east Greece, in Macedonia and in southern Serbia.
- Cardamine amara subsp. opicii (J. Presl & C. Presl) Čelak. : in the Carpathians (Czech Republic, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Ukraine).
- Cardamine amara subsp. pyrenaea Sennen : in the French and Spanish Pyrenees.
The earlier Cardamine amara asked Cardamine barbaraeoides Halácsy (Syn .: Cardamine amara subsp. Barbaraeoides (Halácsy) Maire & Petitm. ) From Serpentingebieten in Pindos and neighboring mountains and Cardamine amporitana (Cadevall) Sennen & Pau (Syn .: Cardamine amara subsp. olotensis O. Bolòs ) from Catalonia are considered by Marhold as a separate species.
The other German-language trivial names exist or existed for the bitter foam herb, partly only regionally : Bitterkressich ( Upper Engadine ), Grascheu (Upper Engadine), Kröss ( Tyrol in the Ötztal ), Pomeranian watercress ( Pomerania ), stone cress ( Memmingen ), stone cress and wolf weed ( Carinthia near Reichenau ).
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