Ontario Weeds: Common peppergrass
Excerpt from Publication 505, Ontario Weeds,
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Table of Contents
- Other Names
- General Description
- Stems and Roots
- Flowers and Fruit
- Similar Species
- Related Links
Name: Common pepper-grass, Lepidium
Other Names: Green-flowered pepper-grass, Pepperweed, lépidie densiflore, passerage, passerage densiflore
Family: Mustard Family (Cruciferae)
General Description: Annual or winter annual, reproducing only by seed.
Common peppergrass. A. Root. B. Stem with 4 racemes of seedpods. C. Seedling, top and sideviews. D. Young plant.
Stems & Roots: 10-60cm (4-24in.)
high, usually very much-branched in the upper part and sometimes
towards the base as well, densely covered with very short hair.
Leaves: Rosette leaves with a definite stalk, deeply lobed or divided into separate segments or merely sharply toothed; lower stem leaves alternate (1 per node), smaller and less lobed than the basal ones; upper stem leaves very narrow and either shallowly toothed or without teeth.
Flowers & Fruit: Flowers individually very small with the white petals extremely short or absent altogether, densely packed in light green clusters at the tips of the branches; seedpods very dense (9 to 15 pods per lcm, 2/5in., of stem), flattened nearly round, 2-3mm (1/12-1/8in.) across with very narrow short narrow short wings towards the tip, a notch between them and a tiny stigma in that notch; seeds 2 per pod, 1 on each side of the septum (membranous partition); septum very narrow, only as wide as the fruit is thick; seeds bright reddish-yellow. Flowers from June to August. When mature, the plant becomes brittle and easily breaks off, rolling and scattering its seed.
Habitat: Common pepper-grass occurs throughout Ontario, being a very common weed in cultivated fields, farmyards, gardens, roadsides and waste areas.
Similar Species: It is distinguished from similar plants by its very numerous, small, rounded but flat, 2-seeded pods with almost no wings around the margins, and the flowers with tiny white petals shorter than the sepals or missing altogether.
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