This weed is prolific, at present, mainly in an area of our lawn that died back, after grass grubs proliferated after a wet spell towards the end of summer.
binomial name : Coronopus didymus
common name : Lesser Swinecress
This is an annual plant that I mainly see in winter. It belongs to the brassica family, which is not surprising, as it has a really pungent mustard taste that I find not unpleasant. It forms a dense mat about 0.5m radius and about 10cm high with small leaves a little like carrot. The distinctive feature is the flowering stem which protrudes from the leaf stalks , which are hairy, and has multiple tiny bilobed seeds arranged in a linear fashion.
Not much to report apart from it being used in Brazil as a traditional medicine for illnesses characterised by inflammation and pain. Cows that eat pasture with Coronopus apparently have tainted milk.
Not much information but it would have flavonoids, saponins, tanins and mustard oils. No doubt other phytochemicals as well.
The pungent raw leaves add real bite to salads and sandwiches or as a garnish. It can be cooked as a potherb. We have only nibbled on this weed when out in our yard. A chef into spicy foods would find this weed most interesting probably.
Medical (pubmed) reports :
1.An extract of Lesser swinecress was found to a have an anti-inflammatory effect in the mouse paw and pleural models ( the tissues are "irritated" by exposure to noxious chemicals and the effect of Coronopus was to reduce this inflammation).
2.Another study used an extract of Coronopus in gamma irradiated mice- it was found to have a protective effect against radiation.
3.Finally a study from 2005 showed that an extract of Coronopus had significant antiallergy, antipyretic, hypoglycemic and hepatoprotective effects.
Another interesting edible weed that is usually overlooked and simply pulled out.
one of these photos is from google images this time as I was unable to get a good shot of the seeds (camera problems)