Peppergrass
Lepidium virginicum

Shepherd's Purse
 Capsella bursa-pastoris

Brassicaceae (Mustard) Family

Peppergrass
Also known as Least Pepperwort, Virginia Pepperweed or Peppergrass, plant is an annual or biennial plant in the mustard family. It is native to much of North America, including most of the United States and Mexico and southern regions of Canada, as well as most of Central America. It can be found elsewhere as an introduced species. The most identifiable characteristic is its raceme, which comes from the plant's highly branched stem. The racemes give the appearance of a bottlebrush. On the racemes are first small white flowers, and later greenish fruits. The entire plant is generally between 10 and 50 centimeters tall. The leaves sessile (no leaf stalks), linear to lanceolate and get larger as they approach the base. All parts of the plant have a peppery taste and may be used as a seasoning in soups and stews.

Shepherd's Purse
The plant is generally known by its common name because of its triangular, purse-like pods, is a small annual and ruderal species, and also a member of the mustard family. It is native to eastern Europe and Asia minor but is naturalized and considered a common weed in many parts of the world, especially in colder climates. Unlike most flowering plants, Shepherd's Purse flowers almost all year round. Like many other annual its preferred habitat is disturbed ground where it reproduces entirely from seed, has a long soil seed bank, and short generation time, thus is capable of producing several generations each year. The plant grows from a rosette of lobed leaves at the base. From the base emerges a woody stems which bears a few pointed leaves that grasp it. The flowers are white and small, in loose racemes, and produce seed pods which are heart-shaped. Like a number of other plants in the mustard family, its seeds contain a substance known as mucilage, which becomes sticky when wet. That attribute leads scientists to believe that it traps insects which then provide nutrients to the seedling.

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