Peppergrass (Lepidium virginicum)

In Albums:Philadelphia plants

Peppergrass plant, showing unripe seedheads of numerous green, flat seeds, growing from a spindly-looking plant with thin, wiry, dark green leaves

Jun 16th, 2011, by Alex Zorach

This is a photo of Lepidium virginicum which I grew up called peppergrass but have also heard called poor man's pepper, and which is sometimes also called pepperweed. This plant is native to North America, and tends to grow in disturbed areas such as vacant loads, roadsides, and alleyways, and parking lots in cities. True to the names, the seeds have a peppery taste. I actually find them to be quite delicious. The green (unripe) seeds actually make the best use as a spice.

This plant is in the cabbage family, and is both edible and nutritious: its leaves can be cooked like cabbage or mustard leaves.

This plant was growing in a vacant lot in the Northern Liberties neighborhood of Philadelphia. I also took a picture of the whole vacant lot which shows some of the other plants growing here as well.