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Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs


Other Common Names Include:

Field pennycress, Frenchweed, fanweed, stinkweed

Latin Name: Thlaspi arvense L

Plant Family: Brassicaceae

Close Relatives: Canola, camelina, mustard

Uses and Markets: Bioenergy, biodiesel can be made from the seed oil; agricultural, seed meal has potential as an organic fertilizer and soil fumigant.

Pennycress plant showing developing seed podsMature pennycress seed

Production Life Cycle in Ontario

Annual (winter and summer).

Hardiness Zone


Special Notes


Propagation method


Greenhouse Seeding/Propagation Dates


Field Seeding Date:

Early fall or early spring.   Seed at 2-3 kg/ha at a depth of 1 cm.

Field Transplanting Dates


In-Row Spacing

Between row spacing

7.5 cm

Optimal Soil temperature at planting

Will not germinate below 10˚C


No current Ontario fertility recommendations exist. Research and recommendations from outside Ontario do not necessarily apply to Ontario growing conditions.  Research from the U.S. indicates 50kg/ha N, split between fall and spring application, to be sufficient for good seed yield from winter annual pennycress.  Click here for phosphorus and potassium application guidelines and for more information on specialty crop fertility.

Soil type

All soil types.

Soil pH

Acidic to alkaline soils.

Special requirements for growth habit

Seeding with a drill will establish more consistent plant stands compared to broadcast seeding.  Planting in September may allow for a spring harvest prior to soybean planting dates.

Optimal Temperature Range

Temperate climate.

Temperature sensitivity

Flowering is negatively affected by high temperatures.

Irrigation requirements

Irrigation usually not required.

Days to harvest


Specialized equipment


Harvest Scheduling

Single harvest

Hand harvest or machine harvest

Machine harvest

Quality parameters/grades:

No established grades.

Additional Harvest Notes


Post harvest
Special handling/curing

Oil is mechanically extracted from the seed for further use.

Storage Conditions

Relative humidity (RH): N/A

Temperature: N/A

Air Exchange: N/A

Duration: N/A

Specific pests observed on this crop in Ontario (observations based on limited experience with this crop)

None identified in Ontario to date.

Other Potential Pests: The following pests have not been observed on this crop in Ontario. However, they are either significant concerns for closely related plants in Ontario, or are reported on this crop in other production areas. This is not a comprehensive list of all potential pests. Not all of these pests will necessarily survive Ontario’s climate, but could potentially survive in a protected environment (e.g. greenhouse, storage facility).

Insects and Invertebrates: Flea beetles



*Indicates pests commonly mentioned as causing significant damage or economic loss to this crop in other regions.


To date the following pests have been the most significant in Ontario: n/a – limited production in Ontario to date.  Pests of other Brassica crops in Ontario may affect pennycress.  For more information on pests of Brassica crops, refer to the Brassica module of Ontario CropIPM on the OMAFRA website.  This crop is not in a crop group. For more information on Crop Groups, refer to the Pest section.  Always refer to product labels, and follow all directions specified on the label, before applying any pest control product.   For more information, consult an OMAFRA specialist.

Additional Notes

This plant is also considered to be a weedy species in Ontario. 

Ontario Research Projects Used to Create This ProfileNone

  1. Bond, W. and D.R. Turner. 2007.  The biology and non-chemical control of field pennycress (Thlaspi arvense L.). 
  2. Moser, B.R., G. Knothe, S.F. Vaughn and T.A. Isbell.  2009.  Production and evaluation of biodiesel from field pennycress (Thlaspi arvense L.) oil.  Energy and Fuels. 23:4149-4155
  3. Pennycress Resource Network.  University of Western Illinois. 
  4. S.F. Vaughn, T.A. Isbell, D. Weisleder and M.A. Berhow.  2005.  Biofumigant compounds released by field pennycress (Thlaspi arvense) seedmeal.  J. Chem. Ecol.  31(1):167-177.