Lepidium africanum (Burm.f.) DC.

Common Peppercress

Syst. Nat. 2: 522 (1821) APNI

Taxonomic status:Accepted

Occurrence status:Present

Establishment means:Naturalised

Annual or perennial herb to 70 cm high; stems erect, not papillose or hairy. Basal leaves toothed (to very rarely pinnately lobed); stem leaves lanceolate, to 6 cm long and 5 mm wide, toothed or entire, margins glabrous or with sparse needle-like hairs. Inflorescence a dense elongating raceme. Sepals to 0.8 mm long; petals reduced, thread-like, shorter than sepals; stamens 2; stigma subsessile. Fruit ovate, elliptic or obovate, 2–3 mm long, 1.5–2 mm wide, without hairs, wings narrow, forming shallow apical notch; pedicels 2–3 mm long, shorter than or equal to fruit, minutely hairy on upper surface, somewhat flattened, mostly bow-shaped. Flowers most of year.

*CVU, *DunT, *EGL, *EGU, *GipP, *Gold, *HNF, *HSF, *LoM, *MuF, *MuM, *MSB, *NIS, *OtP, *RobP, *VRiv, *VVP, *Wim. Naturalised all States. Native to Africa. Common weed of disturbed sites throughout Victoria but rarely in mountainous areas, the south-west and East Gippsland.

Similar to the native Lepidium pseudotasmanicum, but basal leaves not pinnately divided (only 1 specimen of over 100 examined had pinnate basal leaves) and leaves with margins glabrous or with scattered needle-like hairs (obviously longer than wide). In addition, L. africanum never has papillate stems. Although fruit shape is sometimes used to distinguish the introduced L. africanum from the native L. pseudotasmanicum, there seems to be great variability in this feature.

Source: Entwisle, T.J. (1996). Brassicaceae. In: Walsh, N.G.; Entwisle, T.J. (eds), Flora of Victoria Vol. 3, Dicotyledons Winteraceae to Myrtaceae. Inkata Press, Melbourne.
Updated by: Val Stajsic, 2019-11-18
Hero image
Distribution map
life Life
kingdom Plantae
phylum Tracheophyta
superorder Rosanae
order Brassicales
family Brassicaceae
genus Lepidium
Higher taxa


Source: AVH (2014). Australia's Virtual Herbarium, Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria, <http://avh.chah.org.au>. Find Lepidium africanum in AVH ; Victorian Biodiversity Atlas, © The State of Victoria, Department of Environment and Primary Industries (published Dec. 2014) Find Lepidium africanum in Victorian Biodiversity Atlas
  Bioregion Occurrence status Establishment means
Lowan Mallee present naturalised
Murray Mallee present naturalised
Wimmera present naturalised
Victorian Volcanic Plain present naturalised
Victorian Riverina present naturalised
Murray Scroll Belt present naturalised
Robinvale Plains present naturalised
Murray Fans present naturalised
Gippsland Plain present naturalised
Otway Plain present naturalised
Goldfields present naturalised
Central Victorian Uplands present naturalised
Dundas Tablelands present naturalised
Northern Inland Slopes present naturalised
East Gippsland Lowlands present naturalised
East Gippsland Uplands present naturalised
Highlands-Southern Fall present naturalised
Highlands-Northern Fall present naturalised

State distribution

Distribution map
Western Australia
Northern Territory
South Australia
New South Wales
Australian Capital Territory