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Yellow Peppergrass Lepidium flavum


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Yellow Peppergrass
credit: Stan Shebs/CCSA

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Alternate name: Yellow Pepperwort

Family: Brassicaceae, Mustard view all from this family

Description Several stems, brittle at joints, lying on ground with dense short racemes of yellow flowers turning upward.
Habit: native annual herb; forms extensive mats.
Height: from prostrate to 18 in (45 cm).
Leaf: in basal rosette, fleshy, stalked, lanceolate to spoon-shaped, lobed or toothed, 0.5-2.5 in (12-63 mm) long; on stem, similar, alternate, becoming smaller, less toothed or lobed above.
Flower: tiny yellow flowers, 4-parted, 0.125 in (3 mm) long; in round terminal cluster.
Fruit: flat, round or oval, winged pod, about 0.125 in (3 mm) long.

Flower March to June.

Habitat Low desert flats, sagebrush communities, open mesas, alluvial fans, dry valley floors, floodplains, washes, alkaline flats, roadsides, playa margins; 2000-5300 ft (600-1600 m).

Range Southeastern California, southern Nevada, and Baja California.

Discussion Also known as yellow peppercress. Two varieties have been proposed. Yellow peppergrass, often so common it colors broad expanses of the desert yellow, has seeds with a peppery flavor.