Botanical Survey of India | Flora of India

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Lepidium virginicum L., Sp. Pl. 645. 1753; Maheshwari & Paul in J. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc. 70: 575. 1973.

Eng.: Pepper-grass, Virginian-pepper-cress.

Herbs, erect, annual or biennial up to 50 cm high; stems scarcely branched above, minutely pubescent to hirsute, with appressed curved hairs. Basal leaves oblanceolate, lyrately pinnatifid, attenuate at base, acute at apex, 4 - 9 cm long, 0.75 - 1.5 cm wide, hairy; cauline leaves more or less sessile, oblanceolate to linear-lanceolate, attenuate at base, serrate to entire along margins, acute at apex, 10 - 25 x 0.5 - 4 mm, mostly glabrous above and pilose below, rarely pilose hairy on both surfaces, often ciliate along margins; uppermost leaves linear, ca 1 cm long, ca 1 mm wide. Racemes many-flowered, up to 12.5 mm long in fruit, very minutely hairy; pedicels 4 - 5 mm in fruit spreading. Sepals elliptic, concave, ca 1 mm long, glabrous or puberulent on adaxial surface. Petals obovate-spathulate, 1 - 2 mm long, white. Stamens 2 or 4, ca 1.25 mm long. Fruits broadly ovate to suborbicular, rounded-emarginate, narrowly winged and broadly notched at apex, 3 - 4 mm across, glabrous; valves shiny, reticulately veined; style short; stigma capitate, completely contained within the sinus. Seeds ovoid, narrowly winged, ca 2 mm long brown; cotyledons obliquely accumbent, entire.

Fl. & Fr. June - Oct.

Distrib. India: Weed of roadsides and farms, up to 2500 m. Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal and Tamil Nadu.

Pakistan, Bhutan, Europe and North America.

Notes. The young spring shoots are used as salad and seeds in seasoning and meat dressing.

Naqshi & Javeid (in J. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc. 74: 392. 1977) report it from Kashmir.


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