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Common Name: Common Pepperweed
Lepidium densiflorum is a Annual/Biennial up to 0.50 metres tall.
It is harvested from the wild for local use as a food and medicine
N. America - Maine to British Columbia, south to Virginia, Texas and Nevada. Casual in Britain[
]. Meadows, pastures, arable land, waste places, walls etc[
]. Sandy soils in disturbed areas in Texas[
An easily grown plant, it succeeds in most soils.
Leaves - raw or cooked[
]. A hot cress-like flavour, they are used in spring and early summer, the young leaves are best[
Immature seedpods - a hot pungent taste, they are used as a flavouring[
Seed - used as a mustard-like flavouring[
]. The pungency of mustard develops when cold water is added to the ground-up seed - an enzyme (myrosin) acts on a glycoside (sinigrin) to produce a sulphur compound. The reaction takes 10 - 15 minutes. Mixing with hot water or vinegar, or adding salt, inhibits the enzyme and produces a mildly-pungent but bitter mustard[
The leaves have been chewed in the treatment of headaches[
]. An infusion of the plant has been used in the treatment of kidney problems[
]. It has also been used as a dietary aid for a person trying to lose weight[
Seed - sow spring or late summer in situ. Germination should take place within 3 weeks.