Lens-podded Hoary Cress (Lepidium chalepense)

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A deep rooted, rhizomatous, long lived perennial growing up to 0.6 tall with numerous erect stems. Leaves are entire to shallowly lobed, and the upper leaves are clasping the stem. If there are hairs on the leaves, they are simple, not branched. Inflorescence is terminal and flat topped. Four petal flowers are white, with 6 anthers, four of them longer and two noticeably shorter. Fruit will be round and flattened perpendicular to the wall that divides the two halves of the fruit. Fruit usually doesn't pop open to let the seeds out. Two chambers per fruit, and each fruit chamber has 1 or 2 seeds. Each stem can produce 850 fruits. The seed pod is tipped with a “beak” which is rare for the mustard family.

Key Identifiers
  • White flat topped clusters of flowers
  • Upper alternate leaves will clasp stem
  • Fruit, lens shaped
Location in Canada
Found in southern Canadian provinces west of and including Ontario.

Alberta Invasive Plants Council - Lens-podded Hoary Cress
Federal Noxious Weed Disseminules of the U.S. - Lens-podded Hoary Cress

Similar species
Lepidium spp - L. chalepensis, L. draba, and L. appelianum, can be distinguishable if they are mature and well developed. The silicles of the three species, are quite distinct.

Round and flat pod, Lens-podded Hoary Cress L. chalepensis.

Heart shape pod, Heart-podded Hoary Cress L. draba.
Round and inflated pod, Globe-podded Hoary cress L. appelianum.

Joseph M. DiTomaso, University of California, Bugwood.org

Julia Scher, USDA APHIS PPQ, Bugwood.org

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For more information about the content of this document, contact Chris Neeser.
This document is maintained by Shelley Barkley.
This information published to the web on March 29, 2012.
Last Reviewed/Revised on August 21, 2018.