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Virginia Pepperweed (Lepidium virginicum)

Crop Impacts: Turf

Virginia Peperweed 1

About Virginia Pepperweed:

Virginia Pepperweed can be either an annual, biennial or perennial plant that is found throughout North America, except for the far Northern Canadian regions. The seeds and young leaves of the Virginia Pepperweed are edible. Typically, people put the seeds in soup to add a peppery taste and its young leaves are used in salads or cooked as greens.

Family:Brassicaceae ⁄ Cruciferae– Mustard family

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Virginia Pepperweed Scouting and Prevention:

Virginia Pepperweed starts by growing a rosette that lies on the ground and has deeply lobed leaves. The stem that grows out of this rosette is straight and free of branches. The leaves that grow off the stem of the Virginia Pepperweed are basal in shape, and alternate from one another. They also produce flowers that form in a bottle or finger like cluster are white in colour and grow at the top of the weed. The seeds of this plant are in flat pods that are oval to round in shape, with a notch at the tip and very small wings. The germination period for the Virginia Pepperweed is from late summer to early fall.

Common locations

  • - Turf
  • - Dry soil
  • - Pasture


Prevention of Virginia Pepperweed is less expensive and less time-consuming then trying to control it. Make sure when you seed a new area that you do so with certified weed-free seeds. If there is an infested area on your property, be sure to drive around instead of through it. Make sure to give all equipment that has been in infested fields a good clean so no seeds are transferred.

Virginia Pepperweed Control:

Cultural Control

Do not panic if you find Virginia Pepperweed in your pastures of turf areas. Here are a few general suggestions to protect your crops from weeds:

  • - Make sure you have high-yielding varieties of plants that are adaptable
  • - The field should be planted in narrow rows with high plant population as soon as ideal soil and weather conditions are met
  • - Scout fields on a regular basis
  • - Give infested area a low mow to prevent the seedheads from growing

Chemical Control

The best time to apply post-emergent herbicide is when the weed is actively growing and when it is just about to enter the seeding flower stage. For application on turf grass, use products that have both clopyralid and triclopyr. When applied in cool or warm seasons, it will provide adequate control.

Latin / Alternative Virginia Pepperweed names:

  • - Lepidium virginicum
  • - Virginia pepperweed
  • - Virginian peppercress
  • - Peppergrass
  • - Poorman's pepper

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