Clasping Peppergrass
Lepidium perfoliatum L.
Family: Brassicaceae, Mustard
Genus: Lepidium
Other names: clasping pepperweed
Nomenclature: perfoliatum = leaves joined around stem
Nativity / Invasiveness: Montana native plant, weed
Edible plant
Medicinal plant

General: simple to freely branched annual 20-60 cm tall, usually somewhat short-hairy below, hairless and covered with waxy coating above.

Leaves: the basal ones bi- or tripinnatifid into narrow, linear segments, the lower stem leaves usually similar, alternate, gradually modified upward and becoming ovate, pointed, cordate, clasping stem with large ear-like lobes at the base, entire or sometimes with small teeth.

Flowers: numerous in dense clusters, later becoming elongate. Flower stalks slender, spreading-ascending, about 5 mm long. The 4 sepals brownish at least toward the tip, about 1 mm long. The 4 petals about 1.5 mm long, narrowly spatulate, yellowish. Stamens usually 6. April-June.

Fruits: pods, rhombic-ovate, about 4 mm long and as broad, strongly flattened, hairless or occasionally slightly short-hairy, barely winged at the tip, slightly notched, the space about 0.2 mm deep. Style about 0.2 mm long.


Mostly on dry, waste or overgrazed land, in most parts of MT. A well established and very widespread European weed, common in much of the U.S.
Edible Uses

Young leaves of clasping peppergrass are edible raw or cooked. They have a hot cress-like flavor.

Medicinal Uses

The plant has been used as an antiscorbutic.

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