Perennial Pepperweed

Lepidium latifolium

Perennial Pepperweed

Family: Brassicaceae

Other Common Names: whitetop, perennial peppercress, broadleafed pepperweed
Weed class: B
Year Listed: 1988
Native to: Asia, Europe and Northern Africa
Is this Weed Toxic?:

not known to be

Legal listings:

WA Quarantine list, WAC 16-752

Why Is It a Noxious Weed?

It forms dense infestations that can turn into monocultures. Accumulations of its semi-woody stems degrade nesting habitat for wildlife. It can also displace more desirable species which poses a particular threat to natural areas and hay meadows.

How would I identify it?

General Description

Perennial pepperweed normally grows 1 to 3 feet tall but may reach up to 6 feet.

Flower Description

Flowers are milky white and are formed into dense rounded clusters at the branch tips. They have 4 sepals and 4 petals.

Leaf description

Leaves are alternate, waxy, and have smooth or toothed margins.  They have a prominent whitish midvein.

Stem description

Multiple stems emerge from a woody base.

Fruit Seed Description

Rounded to egg-shaped silicles (seed pods) form that are compressed and 0.09 inches (2.4 mm) long. Silicles with stigma present at tip.

Where does it grow?

Perennial pepperweed may be found in a variety of places: waste areas, wet areas, ditches, roadsides, cropland and in dry habitats. In coastal areas, the plant invades brackish marshes. Please click here to see a county level distribution map of perennial pepperweed in Washington.

How Does it Reproduce?

It reproduces by seed, rhizomes and root fragments. It produces abundant seed with a high germination rate.  Large populations more commonly expand by creeping rhizomes, which may advance 3 to 6 feet from the parent plant.

How Do I Control It?

Mechanical Control

Mechanical control of this plant is very difficult because very small sections of root contain buds that will sprout into new plants. Plant tops are easily killed, but root and crown buds can sprout and continue the infestation. Small infestations may be hand-pulled or dug, but as much of the root must be removed as possible.

Cultural Control

Planting competitive vegetation aids in controlling perennial pepperweed.

Biological Control


Herbicide Control

Please refer to the PNW Weed Management Handbook, or contact your county noxious weed coordinator.

For More Information

See our postcard for early detection information about perennial pepperweed.

See our Written Findings for more information about perennial pepperweed (Lepidium latifolium).

Report on perennial pepperweed from the book "Weed Control in Natural Areas in the Western United States"

Thurston County NWCB Fact Sheet on perennial pepperweed

Stevens County NWCB Fact Sheet on perennial pepperweed

Whatcom County NWCB Fact Sheet on perennial pepperweed

King County NWCB Fact Sheet on perennial pepperweed

Pierce County NWCB Fact Sheet on perennial pepperweed

Lincoln County NWCB Fact Sheet on perennial pepperweed

Additional Photos