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Field Pepperwort

Lepidium campestre

Please keep in mind that it is illegal to uproot a plant without the landowner's consent and care should be taken at all times not to damage wild plants. Wild plants should never be picked for pleasure and some plants are protected by law.
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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Brassicaceae (Cabbage)
Also in this family:
Alpine Pennycress, Alpine Rock-cress, American Wintercress, Annual Wall Rocket, Austrian Yellowcress, Awlwort, Bastard Cabbage, Black Mustard, Bristol Rock-cress, Charlock, Common Scurvygrass, Common Whitlowgrass, Coralroot, Creeping Yellowcress, Cuckooflower, Dame's-violet, Danish Scurvygrass, Dittander, Early Wintercress, Eastern Rocket, English Scurvygrass, Evergreen Candytuft, False London Rocket, Field Pennycress, Flixweed, Garden Arabis, Garden Candytuft, Garden Cress, Garden Radish, Garden Rocket, Garlic Mustard, Glabrous Whitlowgrass, Gold of Pleasure, Great Yellowcress, Greater Cuckooflower, Greater Periwinkle, Greater Swinecress, Hairy Bittercress, Hairy Rock-cress, Hairy Rocket, Hairy Whitlowgrass, Hedge Mustard, Hoary Cress, Hoary Mustard, Hoary Stock, Hoary Whitlowgrass, Honesty, Horseradish, Hutchinsia, Hybrid Watercress, Intermediate Periwinkle, Isle of Man Cabbage, Large Bittercress, Lesser Swinecress, London Rocket, Lundy Cabbage, Marsh Yellowcress, Mountain Scurvygrass, Narrow-fruited Watercress, Narrow-leaved Bittercress, Narrow-leaved Pepperwort, Northern Rock-cress, Northern Yellowcress, Oilseed Rape, Perennial Rocket, Perennial Wall Rocket, Perfoliate Pennycress, Pinnate Coralroot, Purple Rock-cress, Pyrenean Scurvygrass, Rock Whitlowgrass, Russian Rocket, Scottish Scurvygrass, Sea Kale, Sea Radish, Sea Rocket, Sea Stock, Shepherd's Cress, Shepherd's Purse, Small-flowered Wintercress, Smith's Pepperwort, Steppe Cabbage, Swede, Sweet Alyssum, Tall Rocket, Thale Cress, Tower Mustard, Treacle Mustard, Trefoil Cress, Turnip, Wall Whitlowgrass, Wallflower, Wallflower Cabbage, Warty Cabbage, Watercress, Wavy Bittercress, White Mustard, Wild Cabbage, Wild Candytuft, Wild Radish, Wild Turnip, Wintercress, Woad, Yellow Whitlowgrass
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
50 centimetres tall
Fields, grassland, meadows, roadsides, walls, wasteland, woodland.

White, 4 petals
Flowers appear in spikes. The flowers are small, 2 to 3mm across. Yellow anthers. Petals are slightly longer than the sepals. 2, 4 or 6 stamens. Pollinated by flies.
The fruit is an oblong, flattened, winged pod. Fruits are held close to the stems and are notched. 6mm long and 4mm wide. Fruits each have 2 dark brown seeds.
A compact and stiff greyish-green plant with stalkless, lance-shaped leaves. Only the upper leaves are toothed and clasp their stems. Leaves are alternate along the stems. the stems are erect.
Other Names:
Common Pepperwort, Field Cress, Field Pepperweed.
Frequency (UK):
Occasionally seen  

Other Information


Lepidium campestre, commonly known as field pepperwort or field cress, is a species of annual herb in the Brassicaceae family. It is native to Europe and Asia, and can be found in habitats such as meadows, fields, and waste ground. The plant has small white or pink flowers and leaves that are variable in shape and size. The leaves and seeds are edible and have a pepper-like flavor and can be used in salads, sandwiches and as a garnish. It's also a medicinal plant that has been used for centuries in traditional medicine for various ailments, but there is limited scientific evidence to support these uses.


Field Pepperwort (Lepidium campestre) is a plant that belongs to the Brassicaceae family. It is native to Europe and western Asia and has been introduced to North America, where it is considered an invasive species. The plant has a long history of use in traditional medicine and culinary arts.


Field Pepperwort is a small, herbaceous annual plant that grows to a height of 30-50 cm. The leaves are narrow and elongated, with a lanceolate shape, and are arranged in a rosette at the base of the plant. The stem is erect, branched, and covered with fine hairs. The flowers are small and white and are arranged in clusters at the end of the stem.

Habitat and Distribution

Field Pepperwort is a common plant that grows in dry, sandy, and disturbed areas, such as roadsides, fields, and waste places. It is distributed throughout Europe and western Asia, and has been introduced to North America, where it is now considered an invasive species.


Field Pepperwort has been used for centuries in traditional medicine to treat a variety of ailments, such as respiratory disorders, digestive problems, and skin diseases. It has been shown to have antibacterial, antifungal, and antioxidant properties, and may have potential as a natural remedy for certain health conditions.

In culinary arts, the leaves and seeds of Field Pepperwort have been used as a spice and flavoring agent. The leaves have a peppery, tangy flavor that is similar to arugula, and can be used in salads, soups, and sandwiches. The seeds have a spicy, mustard-like flavor and can be used as a substitute for black pepper.

Invasive Species

Although Field Pepperwort has many beneficial uses, it is also considered an invasive species in North America, where it has spread rapidly and outcompeted native plants. The plant is difficult to control and can quickly colonize disturbed areas, causing damage to ecosystems and agricultural lands.

Field Pepperwort is a small, herbaceous plant that has a long history of use in traditional medicine and culinary arts. While it has many beneficial properties, it is also considered an invasive species in some parts of the world, and its spread should be controlled. As with all plants, it is important to use Field Pepperwort in a responsible and sustainable manner, taking into account its potential impact on the environment.

More Information

Field Pepperwort, also known as Field Cress or Field Lepidium, has been traditionally used in European and Asian herbal medicine for centuries. The plant contains various compounds, including flavonoids, alkaloids, and glucosinolates, which are responsible for its medicinal properties. These compounds have been shown to have anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and anticancer effects.

In traditional medicine, Field Pepperwort has been used to treat a variety of ailments, including coughs, colds, asthma, bronchitis, and arthritis. The plant has also been used as a diuretic and to treat digestive problems such as constipation and diarrhea. It has been shown to have potential as a natural remedy for respiratory and gastrointestinal conditions, although more research is needed to determine its efficacy and safety.

In addition to its medicinal properties, Field Pepperwort has culinary uses as well. The leaves, which have a peppery, tangy flavor, can be used fresh in salads, or cooked in soups and stews. The seeds, which have a pungent, mustard-like flavor, can be used as a spice, either whole or ground. The seeds have been used in traditional European cuisine to flavor dishes such as sausages and cheese.

Field Pepperwort is also a valuable source of nutrition. The leaves are rich in vitamins A and C, as well as minerals such as iron, calcium, and potassium. The seeds are a good source of protein and healthy fats.

Despite its many uses, Field Pepperwort can be problematic as an invasive species in certain areas. It is important to control its spread and prevent it from outcompeting native plant species. This can be done through measures such as manual removal, herbicides, or biological control methods.

In addition to its traditional uses, Field Pepperwort has also been studied for its potential as a natural insecticide. Extracts of the plant have been shown to have insecticidal properties against a variety of insect pests, including aphids and whiteflies. This has led to interest in using Field Pepperwort as a natural alternative to synthetic insecticides, which can have negative impacts on the environment and human health.

Field Pepperwort has also been used in ethnobotanical practices for spiritual and cultural purposes. For example, the plant has been used in traditional Balkan folk medicine as a charm against evil spirits and for protection against the evil eye. In Iran, the plant has been used as a symbol of purity and fertility, and has been incorporated into various rituals and celebrations.

Research into the medicinal properties of Field Pepperwort is ongoing, and there is potential for the plant to be developed into new treatments for various health conditions. However, as with any medicinal plant, it is important to use Field Pepperwort responsibly and with caution. Some compounds in the plant can be toxic in high doses, and it may interact with certain medications.

In summary, Field Pepperwort is a versatile and useful plant with a long history of use in traditional medicine, culinary arts, and cultural practices. Its potential as a natural insecticide and source of new medical treatments make it an interesting subject for ongoing research. However, its invasive tendencies require careful management to prevent negative impacts on native ecosystems.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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