Fact Sheets


Thlaspi arvense L.

Family :

Famille :


Synonym(s) :

Synonyme(s) :

Teruncius arvensis (Linnaeus) Lunell (FNA 1993+)

Common Name(s) :

Nom(s) commun(s) :

(English) (GC 2016)

Tabouret des champs (French) (GC 2016)

Fanweed (English) (CABI 2021)

Pennycress (English) (CABI 2021)

Carrapisque (Spanish) (CABI 2021)

Tabouret perfolie (French) (CABI 2021)

Thlaspio (Portuguese) (CABI 2021)

  • Stinkweed (Thlaspi arvense) seeds

  • Stinkweed (Thlaspi arvense) seeds

  • Stinkweed (Thlaspi arvense) seeds

  • Stinkweed (Thlaspi arvense) seed

  • Thlaspi arvense (stinkweed) silicle

  • Thlaspi arvense (stinkweed) silicle and seeds

Explore More :

Explore plus :



Regulation :

Remarques Réglementation:

  • CFIA Weed Seeds Order - Class 3: Secondary Noxious Weed Seeds
  • Quarantine lists of countries e.g. Mexico *may be updated without notice

Regulation Notes:

Distribution :

Répartition :

Native to Europe and Asia and introduced in North America, southern South America, northern Africa, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, and beyond its native range in northern Europe (USDA-ARS 2021). Widespread in temperate regions of the northern hemisphere and recently spread to temperate regions of the southern hemisphere (Warwick et al. 2002). Occurs throughout Canada (Brouillet et al. 2010+) and is most abundant in the prairie provinces (Warwick et al. 2002).

Habitat and Crop Association :

Habitat et Cultures Associées :

Cultivated fields, old fields, gardens, pastures, rangelands, meadows, thickets, woods, irrigated areas, sloughs, beaches, roadsides, lawns, railway lines and disturbed areas (FNA 1993+; Warwick et al. 2002; Darbyshire 2003). A serious weed of pastures and cereal, oilseed, forage and vegetable crops (Warwick et al. 2002; CABI 2021).

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:

Annual or Winter annual

Dispersal Unit Type :

Type d’unité de dispersion :


General Information


Thlaspi arvense was first introduced into Michigan in 1701 (Royer and Dickinson 1999) and is now found in all of the United States except for Hawaii (NatureServe 2015). One plant is capable of producing up to 20,000 seeds, which can remain viable for 20 to 30 years (CABI 2021).

Not only does T. arvense reduce crop yields, it also decreases crop quality by increasing the erucic acid content of the oil produced (Warwick et al. 2002). T. arvense can be toxic to cattle, causing symptoms such as abortion, colic, and sometimes death (Warwick et al. 2002).


Thlaspi arvense plant (Mary Ellen (Mel) Harte, Bugwood.org)



  • Silicle


    • Silicle length: 9.0 – 20.0 mm; width: 7.0 – 20.0 mm (FNA 1993+)


    • Egg-shaped or round with a V-shaped notch at the end opposite the stalk
    • Central portion of silicle inflated

    Surface Texture

    • Surface is smooth with a vein pattern


    • Silicle is dull straw yellow

    Other Features

    • Silicle winged around an inflated centre, the wing is 1.0 – 1.5 mm wide at the stalk end, and 3.5 – 5.0 mm wide at the notched end (FNA 1993+)
    • Silicle holds 6 – 16 seeds (FNA 1993+)
  • Seed


    • Seed length*: 1.9 – 2.7 mm; width: 1.3 – 1.7 mm
    *Note: minimum and maximum of 20 seeds in a normal range of this species using image measurement (ISMA 2020)


    • Seed oval shaped, compressed in 3 dimensions

    Surface Texture

    • Seed surface ridged in a series of circles following the shape of the seed


    • Seeds are shiny dark brown coloured
    • Immature seeds are shiny reddish-brown coloured

    Other Features

    Hilum & Hilum area

    • Hilum has a notch along the edge of the seed with 2 narrow protruding lobes and tissue inside
    • Circular ridges come together at the hilum area
  • Embryo


    • Embryo fills the seed


    • Embryo is bent


    • Endosperm is scant or lacking

    Other Features

    • Nutritive tissue contained within oval shaped cotyledons
    • Cotyledons are oval shaped, orange coloured, soft and oily, with a ridged reticulate surface texture

Identification Tips


Circular ridges on the seed surface combined with the compressed oval shape distinguishes the seed of Thlaspi arvense from similar species. Alliaria petiolata seeds are also dark brown with a ridged surface, but they are a cylindrical shape. Berteroa incana seeds are a similar brown colour, oval shape and notched hilum, but the surface is smoother.

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.

Berteroa incana (L.) DC. (hoary alyssum)

B. incana seeds are smaller (length*: 1.1- 2.2 mm; width: 0.9 – 1.8), with a ridged reticulate surface and lack the concentric ridges of T. arvense seeds.

Alliaria petiolata (M. Bieb.) Cavara & Grande (garlic mustard )

A. petiolata seeds are larger (length*: 2.3 – 3.6 mm; width: 0.8 – 1.3 mm), elongate oval, cylindrical in 3 dimensions and compressed only at the hilum end. T. arvense seeds are smaller, oval shaped and compressed.

*Note: minimum and maximum of 10 seeds in a normal range of this species using image measurement (ISMA 2020)

Click to select species

Cliquez pour sélectionner les espèces

Comparison Window

Fenêtre de comparaison

Need ID Help?

Besoin d’aide pour l’identification?



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 29, 2021.

Centre for Agriculture and Bioscience International (CABI). 2021. Invasive Species Compendium, CAB International, Wallingford, UK. https://www.cabidigitallibrary.org/journal/cabicompendium Accessed April 29, 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.  Accessed December 29, 2022.

Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) Secretariat. 2022. https://doi.org/10.15468/39omei Accessed via https://www.gbif.org/species/3052680 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.

NatureServe. 2015. NatureServe Explorer: An online encyclopedia of life [web application]. Version 7.1. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia, http://explorer.natureserve.org Accessed May 30, 2016.

Royer, F. and Dickinson, R. 1999. Weeds of Canada and the Northern United States. The University of Alberta Press/Lone Pine Publishing, Edmonton, Alberta.

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 29, 2021.

Warwick, S. I., Francis, A. and Susko, D. J. 2002. The biology of Canadian weeds. 9. Thlaspi arvense L. (updated). Canadian Journal of Plant Science 82: 803–823.



Jennifer Neudorf, Angela Salzl, Ruojing Wang, Karen Castro, Katrina Entwistle
Canadian Food Inspection Agency