Lepidium Species, Poor Man's Pepper, Virginia Peppergrass, Virginia Pepperweed, Wild Pepper Grass

Lepidium virginicum

Family: Brassicaceae (brass-ih-KAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Lepidium (lep-PID-ee-um) (Info)
Species: virginicum (vir-JIN-ih-kum) (Info)




Water Requirements:

Unknown - Tell us

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun


Unknown - Tell us

Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us


6-12 in. (15-30 cm)


6-9 in. (15-22 cm)

9-12 in. (22-30 cm)


Not Applicable

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us



Bloom Color:

White/Near White

Bloom Characteristics:

This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Mid Spring

Late Spring/Early Summer

Other details:

May be a noxious weed or invasive

Soil pH requirements:

Unknown - Tell us

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall

From seed; winter sow in vented containers, coldframe or unheated greenhouse

Seed Collecting:

Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:


Bigelow, Arkansas

North Fork, California

Bartow, Florida

Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Fort Walton Beach, Florida

Lakeland, Florida

Lutz, Florida

Seminole, Florida

Tampa, Florida

Elberton, Georgia

Benton, Kentucky

Valley Lee, Maryland

Bridgewater, Massachusetts

Henderson, Tennessee

San Antonio, Texas

Martinsville, Virginia

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Mar 29, 2012, vossner from Richmond, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

As many have stated, it is a weed. The entire plant is generally between 5-20" tall. Plant is edible. This plant's most identifiable characteristic is its raceme, which comes from the plant's highly branched stem. The racemes give Virginia pepperweed the appearance of a bottlebrush. On the racemes are first small white flowers, and later greenish fruits. I noticed it growing in some compost we purchased and immediately yanked it as it is difficult to eradicate once established.


On Feb 7, 2006, raisedbedbob from Walkerton, VA (Zone 7a) wrote:

The leaves are a source of vitamines A and C, and iron.


On Aug 8, 2004, o0tea0o from Calgary,
Canada wrote:

This plant is very common along the Rocky Mountains, in un-disturbed areas such as road-sides, and gentle slopes. I've always called this plant 'pennycress'. Mature plants can have white blossoms on the tips, and can grow to about 1m(or roughly 3') in height. I've known the plant to be high in vitamins(especially vitamin C), and sulphur, which gives it a garlic-mustard taste. I've tried young tender leaves in sandwiches, hors d'oeuvres and salads. It can also be dried and ground into a spice, almost like pepper. Pennycress has more of a 'pepper' taste in plants that are more mature. I've also heard 'stinkweed' is a common name for pennycress. It's a great plant.


On Jun 13, 2004, melody from Benton, KY (Zone 7a) wrote:

A common roadside weed that grows in vacant lots and fields.

A genus of about 130 species of the mustard family, Cruciferae.

Most of the weedy species have been introduced from Europe and are usually annuals...although there are a few biennial and perrinial ones also.

The common link is that the leaves and seed capsules have a biting peppery taste and is one of the reasons for the common name 'Poor Man's Pepper'

Usually an undesireable weed, but I have found that the dried seed stems make a great addition to dried arrangements and wreaths.They are sturdy and last for a long time.