Ontario Weeds: Field 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: 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.
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.
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