Field Peppergrass

Field Peppergrass
Field Peppergrass. Lepidium campestre.
Brassicaceae, the mustard family.

Plant: Erect, downy-hairy plant 8"-16" high branching near the top into several, dense elongating clusters of small white flowers and elliptical seed pods. Annual or biennial.
Flowers: White, small, < 1/4", with four petals and four sepals, in a tight cluster (raceme) that elongates as the lower blooms develop into fruit. Typically the stem branches near the top into several such clusters.
Leaves: Alternate, ovate to arrowhead-shaped, 1"-1.5", toothed, sessile, and clasping the stem on which they are densely packed. Both the stem and leaves are covered with fine hairs.
Fruit: A stalked, elliptical capsule with a short, terminal spike.
Blooming: April-June
Habitat: Fields, waste areas, disturbed ground.

Comments: Naturalized from Europe, this member of the mustard family is sometimes a troublesome weed in disturbed ground. The common name refers to the fact that the young seed pods have a peppery flavor and can be used as seasoning. The young leaves can also be eaten, both fresh in salads, or boiled as a potherb. The plant is also known as Field Pepperweed, Field pepperwort, and Cow Cress.

Where to find it: I have found it in recently planted lawn areas adjacent to the Islamic center, and scattered in other waste areas of the park.