I'm trying to let my lawn grow out a bit more naturally in parts this year to understand what takes a foothold here. There is one plant that has sprung up and gone to seed in very short order this spring; however, I'm still having trouble identifying it.

The plant has lobed, connected leaves all coming from the central base, while the seed pods rise up and branch off brown stalks. They are definitely long thin seed pods - they spring open and release small yellow seeds when they are brown and ready to open. The leaves and plant seem to be turning a pinkish/brownish/beige color as it goes to seed.

Any help would be appreciated! It is definitely going to seed, so I expect to see more of this and want to decide if I should pull up the lot of them or not.

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  • Where do you live? I'm some difficulty to understand the size. Could you put some common object near it. [there are similar plants which are just few centimeters tall, or some are 50 or more]. This weed is not very competitive (you see fron small leaves), and it likes dry places (paths), and it growth mainly early spring. They generates a lot of seeds. Later I'll answer, when I get the right answer. It is from Brassicaceae family. Possibly a Cardamine or Arabidopsis May 20, 2019 at 6:24
  • Giacomo, it is in the northeast United States. The longest stalk there is probably 20cm or so tall. May 22, 2019 at 7:06

1 Answer 1


That's a mustard of some kind; the fact that it's turning brown as it's going to seed indicates it's an annual. Pull all of the ones you can find ASAP or you will be overrun with them. As you noted, the seeds "shatter" when they release their seeds; sometimes grasping the stem to pull it will cause this to happen. You can use a sandwich bag to grab the stems from above (with the seedheads inside the bag) to try to contain as many loose seeds as possible.

  • Interesting, definitely true on the seeds releasing at a slight touch. I never saw any flowering or anything else with this plant - is there a particular type that this seems closest to? I can't find anything based on my searches. May 22, 2019 at 7:12
  • @Mattmosphere: you see the flowers on the photos. They are small (white, 4 petals), search near the seed pods. As European I would say: Cardamine hirsuta, and I think it is a weed you get in US from the old world. May 22, 2019 at 7:46
  • It very much resembles a "pot weed" that we get at a nursery I occasionally work at. There, it's common name is "[insert cuss word here] mustard!" It's proven extremely difficult to eradicate.
    – Jurp
    May 22, 2019 at 11:56
  • Thanks, both of you for strategies and identification. The diagrams of Cardamine hirsuta look exactly right. It's in a pretty localized area of the yard, but there are dozens of these plants. It may be beyond saving, but I'll probably pull what I can. I'm trying to let moss and a few ground cover plants take over otherwise. May 23, 2019 at 0:40

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