Fact Sheets


Lepidium chalepense L.

Family :

Famille :


Synonym(s) :

Synonyme(s) :

Cardaria chalepensis (L.) Hand.-Mazz.                    (USDA-ARS 2021)

Lepidium draba L. subsp. chalepense (L.) Thell.      (USDA-ARS 2021)

Cardaria draba (L.) Desv. subsp. chalepensis (L.) O. E. Schulz (USDA-ARS 2021)

Common Name(s) :

Nom(s) commun(s) :

Lens-pod hoary cress
(English) (GC 2016)

Cranson rampant (French) (GC 2016)

Lens-podded whitetop (English) (CABI 2021)

  • Lens-pod hoary cress (Lepidium chalepense) seeds

  • Lens-pod hoary cress (Lepidium chalepense) seeds and pod

  • Lens-pod hoary cress (Lepidium chalepense) seed

  • Lens-pod hoary cress (Lepidium chalepense) seed

  • Lens-pod hoary cress (Lepidium chalepense) seed

  • Lens-pod hoary cress (Lepidium chalepense)seed, close-up view of the hilum

  • Lens-pod hoary cress (Lepidium chalepense) seed, cross-section

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Regulation :

Remarques Réglementation:

  • CFIA Weed Seeds Order - Class 2: Primary Noxious Weed Seeds

Regulation Notes:

Distribution :

Répartition :

Native to the Middle East and China, introduced into North America and Argentina (USDA-ARS 2021). This species occurs in the western United States (Francis and Warwick 2008) and in the following Canadian provinces: Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario and Saskatchewan (Brouillet et al. 2010+).

Habitat and Crop Association :

Habitat et Cultures Associées :

Cultivated fields, old fields, grasslands, pastures, feed lots, riparian areas, ditches, roadsides, railway lines and disturbed areas (Darbyshire 2003; Zouhar 2004; Francis and Warwick 2008). A weed of Medicago sativa (alfalfa) fields and pastures in Canada (Francis and Warwick 2008).

Economic Use, cultivation area, and Weed Association :

Utilisation économique, zone de culture et association de mauvaises herbes :

Duration of Life Cycle :

Durée du cycle vital:


Dispersal Unit Type :

Type d’unité de dispersion :


General Information


Contaminated Medicago sativa (alfalfa) seed from central Asia or horse feed was the probable cause of L. chalepense seed introduction into North America (Francis and Warwick 2008). Plants require soil disturbed by cultivation or animals to become established (Warwick and Francis 2008).


Lepidium chalepense infestation (John M. Randall, The Nature Conservancy, Bugwood.org)



  • Silicle


    • Silicle length: 2.5 – 6.0 mm; width 4.0 – 6.0 mm (Francis and Warwick 2008)


    • Silicle are round, oval or slightly kidney-shaped, inflated in edge view

    Surface Texture

    • Silicle surface smooth and glabrous


    • Silicle dull yellow coloured

    Other Features

    • Silicle shiny green coloured when immature
    • A persistent style remnant is at the end of the silicle 1.0 – 2.0 mm long (Francis and Warwick 2008)
    • Silicles do not open at maturity to release seeds (indehiscent) (FNA 1993+)
    • Silicle is 1 or 2 chambered with 2 seeds per chamber, sometimes seedless (Francis and Warwick 2008)
  • Seed


    • Seed length: 2.1 – 2.5 mm; width: 1.2 – 1.8 mm
    *Note: minimum and maximum of 10 seeds in a normal range of this species using image measurement (ISMA 2020)


    • Seed oval or egg-shaped, compressed in edge view

    Surface Texture

    • Seed surface is granular textured, ridged reticulate visible under high magnification


    • Seed reddish-brown

    Other Features

    Hilum & Hilum area

    • Hilum in a notch at the narrow end of the seed, covered with yellowish tissue
    • Hilum area appears pinched, strongly compressed in edge view

    Other than hilum

    • The seed is egg-shaped in cross section, with a furrow between the radicle and cotyledons
  • Embryo


    • Embryo fills the seed


    • Embryo is bent


    • Endosperm is scant or lacking, nutritive tissue contained within cotyledons

    Other Features

    • Cotyledons are oval shaped, soft and orange coloured
    • Radicle is generally more narrow than the cotyledons

Identification Tips


The oval or egg-shaped seeds of Lepidium chalepense appear similar to other Lepidium species such as L. draba, L. appelianum, L. campestre, L. sativum and L. densiflorum. The silicles of L. chalepense are more inflated than other Lepidium species without a V-shaped notch at one end and do not open at maturity. Seeds can be distinguished by their reddish colour, compressed shape in edge view and granular texture. Silicles are needed to distinguish between L. draba, L. chalepense and L. appelianum. L. chalepense silicles are larger, inflated and without surface hairs compared to the similar species.

Additional Botany Information


Similar Species


Similar species are based on a study of seed morphology of various species, and those with similar dispersal units are identified. The study is limited by physical specimen and literature availability at the time of examination, and possibly impacted by the subjectivity of the authors based on their knowledge and experience. Providing similar species information for seed identification is to make users aware of similarities that could possibly result in misidentification.

Lepidium appelianum Al-Shehbaz (globe-pod hoary cress)

L. appelianum silicles are generally smaller (length: 3.0 – 4.5 mm; width: 2.5 – 4.5 mm, Francis and Warwick 2008), have surface hairs and are strongly inflated in edge view. The radicle is generally larger than L. chalepense, and may have a more shallow furrow on the seed surface.

Lepidium draba L. (heart-pod hoary cress)

L. draba silicles are generally smaller (length: 2.5 – 3.5 mm; width: 3.0 – 5.0 mm wide, Francis and Warwick 2008), heart-shaped and with a vein pattern on the surface. The radicle is generally larger than L. chalepense, and may have a more shallow furrow on the seed surface.

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Brouillet, L., Coursol, F., Meades, S. J., Favreau, M., Anions, M., Bélisle, P. and Desmet, P. 2010+. VASCAN, the database of vascular plants of Canada. http://data.canadensys.net/vascan/ Accessed April 26, 2021.

Centre for Agriculture and Bioscience International (CABI). 2021. Invasive Species Compendium, CAB International, Wallingford, UK. https://www.cabidigitallibrary.org/journal/cabicompendium Accessed April 26, 2021.

Darbyshire, S. J. 2003. Inventory of Canadian Agricultural Weeds. Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Research Branch. Ottawa, ON.

Flora of North America (FNA) Editorial Committee, eds. 1993+. Flora of North America North of Mexico [Online]. 22+ vols. New York and Oxford.  http://beta.floranorthamerica.org. Accessed December 29, 2022.

Francis, A. and Warwick, S. I. 2008. The Biology of Canadian Weeds. 3. Lepidium draba L., L. chalepense L., L. appelianum Al-Shehbaz (updated). Canadian Journal of Plant Science 88: 379-401.

Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) Secretariat. 2022. https://doi.org/10.15468/39omei Accessed via https://www.gbif.org/species/5376514 Accessed December 29, 2022.

Government of Canada (GC). 2016. Canadian Weed Seeds Order. https://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/regulations/SOR-2016-93/page-2.html (English) https://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/fra/reglements/DORS-2016-93/page-2.html (French)

International Seed Morphology Association (ISMA). 2020. Method for Seed Size Measurement. Version 1.0. ISMA Publication Guide.   https://www.idseed.org/authors/details/method_for_seed_size_measurement.html

U.S. Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Services (USDA-ARS). 2021. Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN), https://npgsweb.ars-grin.gov/gringlobal/taxon/taxonomysimple.aspx Accessed April 26, 2021.

Zouhar, K. 2004. Cardaria spp. In: Fire Effects Information System. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer), http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/plants/forb/carspp3/all.html Accessed May 30, 2016.



Jennifer Neudorf, Angela Salzl, Ruojing Wang, Karen Castro, Katrina Entwistle

Canadian Food Inspection Agency