Lepidium – Peppergrass
Peppergrasses are annual to somewhat partly shrubby perennials with simple short hairs (if any) and entire to toothed or pinnately lobed leaves, sometimes stalkless and with ear-like lobes clasping the stem.
Flowers are numerous in non-bracted elongated clusters, mostly inconspicuous. The 4 sepals are not pouched at the base, and usually wither shortly after flowering time. The 4 petals are white to yellow, and often vestigial or lacking. Number of stamens are either 2, 4, or 6. The fruit is ovate to oblong, round, or obovate, strongly flattened, conspicuously to shallowly notched. The style is either not evident to as much as 3 mm long. There are 2 seeds in the fruit which are slimy when wet, and they are not winged.
The genus contains well over 100 species worldwide, many of which are rather widespread weeds occurring on all continents. The name comes from the Greek lepis, scale, in reference to the small "scalelike" fruit pods.
Guide to Identify Presented Species of Genus Lepidium
L. perfoliatum – Clasping Peppergrass
Flowers yellow, very small, in dense, tall clusters. Lower leaves pinnate with narrow segments. Upper leaves entire. Fruit pods obovate, short, flattened, about 2-3.5 mm long.
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