Scientific Name: Lepidium virginicum

Common Name: Virginia pepperweed

Other Common Names: Virginian peppercress, preppergrass, poorman's pepper

Habit: Seedlings have oval shaped, long stalked, 2-3 mm wide by 7-10 mm long cotyledons. Cotyledons are hairless and peppery to taste. The mature plant reaches heights of 10-50 cm and has erect branching stems covered with small hairs, leaves are hairless.

Leaves: Early leaves are a rosette 2-10 cm long and 5-20 mm wide lobed and toothed. This rosette is usually absent by flowering. Stem leaves are alternate and lobed, sometimes lobed and toothed.

Identifying Characteristics: Pepper taste to seed pods and cotyledons, leaves are hairless and doubly toothed.

Flower Seed Head: Flowers have white petals when present and appear in dense terminal clusters early spring through early summer.

Seed Fruit: Fruit is a round 2.5-4 mm wide flattened and dented at the apex, peppery to taste. Seeds have one straight side, one curved winged side, are light brown, and oval in shape measuring 1.5 mm long.

Where Found: Occurring throughout much of the United States in gardens, cultivated crops, landscapes, orchards and nurseries. Virginia pepperweed prefers disturbed soils but also can be found in dry soil in full sun.r

  • Life cycle: winter annual

  • Plant type: Herb

  • Plant family: Brassicaceae

  • Leaf arrangement: rolled in bud; opposite

  • Leaf shape: lance; oval

  • Leaf margin: lobed; entire; serrated

  • Stem hairs: has hairs

  • Growth habit: upright and nonwoody

  • Stem: round or oval

  • Leaf structure: simple

  • Leaf hairs: has hairs

  • Leaf stalk: longer than leaf