Ontario Weeds: Field peppergrass

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Excerpt from Publication 505, Ontario Weeds, Order this publication

Table of Contents

  1. Name
  2. Other Names
  3. Family
  4. General Description
  5. Stems and Roots
  6. Leaves
  7. Flowers and Fruit
  8. Habitat
  9. Similar Species
  10. Related Links

Name: Field pepper-grass, Lepidium campestre (L.) R.Br.,

Other Names: pepperweed, lépidie des champs, passerage des champs

Family: Mustard Family (Cruciferae

General Description: Annual or biennial, reproducing only by seed.

Photos and Pictures

Field Peppergrass

Field peppergrass. A. Young plant. B. Base of flowering plant. C. Raceme of seedpods.

Field peppergrass. A. Young plant. B. Base of flowering plant. C. Raceme of seedpods.

Stems & Roots: 10-50cm (4-20in.) high, branched near the top, short hairy.

Leaves: Leaves of basal rosette long-stalked, and varying from without teeth or lobes to deeply lobed along each side; stem leaves alternate (1 per node), stalkless, short, wavy-margined, with arrowhead-shaped bases that clasp the stem; stems and leaves somewhat rough in texture due to a covering of very short hair.

Flowers & Fruit: Flowers individually very small but forming dense, whitish, small clusters at the tips of the stems and branches; seedpods numerous and closely spaced along each branch, standing straight out from the stem on short stalks about 4-8mm (1/6-1/3in.) long; the pods flattened, oblong, 5-6mm (1/5-¼in.) long, mostly held horizontally and with the tip slightly upturned, winged towards the outer end and with a small terminal notch in which the tiny style persists as a wee spine; seeds 2 per pod, 1 on each side of the septum (membranous partition); septum only as wide as the fruit is thick. Flowers from May to July.

Habitat: Field pepper-grass is common in pastures, roadsides, edges of woods and waste areas throughout southern Ontario; only rarely found in cultivated fields.

Similar Species: It is distinguished from Common pepper-grass by the clasping bases of the stem leaves, and the seed-pods being larger with distinct wings and an upcurved tip.

Related Links

... on general Weed topics
... on weed identification, order OMAFRA Publication 505: Ontario Weeds
... on weed control, order OMAFRA Publication 75: Guide To Weed Control

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