Virginia Tech Weed Identification Guide

Field Pepperweed: Lepidium campestre

lepca8-9.jpg (34019 bytes) Weed Description:  A winter annual that overwinters as a rosette and produces flowering stems in the spring.   Found throughout the United States.

Seedling:   Cotyledons occur on petioles, are hairless, 12-15 mm long, and oval.  Young leaves are alternate on long petioles and circular in outline.

Roots:  Taproot.

Leaves:  Rosette leaves and lower stem leaves are rounded but taper to the base.  Margins may be either lobed, toothed, or entire.  Upper stem leaves do not have petioles (sessile) and are clasping at the base.  All leaves covered with short hairs.
fpeprwd1.jpg (128739 bytes) Stems:  Flowering stems may reach 2 feet in height and are covered with short hairs.

Fruit:  Many silicles that are ovate in outline, 5-6 mm long, 4 mm wide, with a 'winged' structure at the apex.

Flowers:  Occur collectively in racemes that may reach 6 inches in length.  Individual flowers are 2 mm long, have 4 white or greenish-white petals, are inconspicuous, and occur on 4-8 mm long stalks (pedicels).
fpeprwd2.jpg (74615 bytes) Distinguishing Characteristics: Unique seedhead and clasping stem leaves.  Virginia Pepperweed (Lepidium virginicum) is similar in appearance but does not have clasping stem leaves and has fruit that are flat and round, unlike the oval and more robust fruit of field pepperweed.  Field Pennycress (Thlaspi arvense) is also similar but has leaves that are hairless and has fruit that are more flattened than those of field pepperweed.