Biological Name:

Lepidium latifolium (Pepperweed)

Natural Habitat:

Pepperweed is a type of plant that is found in many different habitats, including meadows, fields, and disturbed areas. It is commonly found in temperate regions.


Pepperweed is a type of flowering plant that is commonly found in fields and other grassy areas. It is a member of the Apiaceae family which also includes plants such as parsley and celery. Pepperweed is an annual or perennial plant that produces small white or yellow flowers and clusters of seeds. The plant is often used as a cover crop to improve soil health and suppress weeds. It is also known for its ability to tolerate a wide range of growing conditions including wet or dry soils. In some areas pepperweed is considered a weed because of its ability to invade cultivated areas and cause allergies and other health problems.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: What is pepperweed good for?
A: The leaves of wild pepper-grass are nutritious and generally detoxifying, they have been used to treat vitamin C deficiency and diabetes, and to expel intestinal worms[254]. The herb is also diuretic and of benefit in easing rheumatic pain[254].

Q: Can you touch fireweed?
A: This is Fireweed, or heartleaf nettle. The tiny hairs all over that plant can cause a painful sting when touched.

Q: What part of fireweed is edible?
A: But it is not just another pretty flower, all parts of the fireweed are edible. The young leaves can be eaten raw in salads or sautéed in a stir fry or with other greens. The flowers and buds make a beautiful garnish and can be used to make fireweed jelly.

Q: Is Fireweed an invasive plant?
A: Fireweed, Senecio madagascariensis, is an toxic, invasive plant that occurs in Australia, South America, Africa and Hawaii.

Q: Why was Fireweed introduced to Australia?
A: Fireweed was first recorded in Australia in the Hunter Valley in 1918. It is thought to have arrived in the ballast of ships trading between Australia and Europe via Cape Town.

Q: Is pepperweed an invasive species?
A: Perennial pepperweed (Lepidium latifolium), an introduced plant from southeastern Europe and Asia, is invasive throughout the western United States.

Q: How do I get rid of pepperweed?
A: Combine mechanical, cultural, biological, and chemical methods for most effective perennial pepperweed control. Roadsides, fence lines, or non-crop areas Mow at flower bud stage; apply herbicide to re-sprouts. Hand pull or grub small patches. Use seed, mulch, and fill materials certified to be weed- free.

Q: Is pepperweed invasive to California?
A: Seeds and root fragments are spread easily by flooding and soil movement, and seeds stick to tires, shoes, and animals, making continued dispersion difficult to avoid. Perennial pepperweed is a state-listed noxious weed in California and many other western states.

Q: Is pepper grass invasive?
A: The weeds are invasive and quickly form dense stands that push out desirable native plants. Getting rid of peppergrass is very difficult since each plant produces thousands of seeds and also propagates from root segments.

Q: Do invasives have predators?
A: Invasive species are often successful in their new ecosystems because they can reproduce and grow rapidly, or because their new environment lacks any natural predators or pests.

Q: How do you control invasives?
A: Herbicides are among the most effective and resource-efficient tools to treat invasive species. Most of the commonly known invasive plants can be treated using only two herbicides—glyphosate (the active ingredient in Roundup™ and Rodeo™) and triclopyr (the active ingredient in Brush-BGone™ and Garlon™).

Q: Are Ragweeds invasive?
A: It is a highly invasive weed. It spreads quickly under warm continental climate conditions, colonising a wide range of habitats. Ragweed populations are considered as a pest for agriculture and natural ecosystems. They successfully compete with neighbouring plants and crops for resources.

Q: Is perennial pepperweed edible?
A: Perennial pepperweed is a member of the mustard family, Brassicaceae. Stems range from 2 feet to over 4 feet tall. Mature plants have numerous erect, semi-woody stems that originate from large, interconnected roots. The leaves, shoots, and fruits of this plant are all edible.

Q: Is pepperweed toxic to horses?
A: Goats, sheep, and cattle will graze new foliage growth but will stop eating perennial pepperweed when the early flowering stage is reached. Horses reportedly have been poisoned after eating the weed in hay.

Q: Can horses eat pepperweed?
A: Pepperweed is also an agricultural weed of hay meadows and is toxic to horses.


About the author

Samuel is a gardening professional and enthusiast who has spent over 20 years advising homeowners and farm owners on weed identification, prevention and removal. He has an undergraduate degree in plant and soil science from Michigan State University.