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Hairy Whitetop Cardaria pubescens (Lepidium appelianum)


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Hairy Whitetop
© Steve Schoenig/Senior Environmental Research Scientist, Integrated Pest Control Branch, CA Dept. of Food and Ag.

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Alternate name: Hairy Cress

Family: Brassicaceae, Mustard view all from this family

Description Introduced. A weed growing from an extensive system of underground runners; bears clusters of tiny white flowers followed by small, spherical, hairy pods.
Flowers: numerous; about 1/4" (6 mm) wide; packed in dense, branched clusters.
Leaves: 1 1/2-3" (4-8 cm) long; hairy; lower leaves stalked, upper leaves unstalked, clasping stem.
Height: 16" (40 cm).

Flower April-July.

Habitat Roadsides, agricultural fields, and other disturbed areas; prefers alkaline soil.

Range Asia native; naturalized in much of North America, especially the north and west.

Discussion Although less common than the similar exotic pest plant Hoary Cress (C. draba), which has a heart-shaped, hairless pod, Hairy Whitetop (or Hairy Cress) is also considered a noxious weed in North America. It spreads by its strong, creeping roots as well as by seed dispersal. Some authorities call this species Lepidium appelianum.