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Lepidium montanum (Mountain peppergrass)
Bransford, W.D. and Dolphia

Lepidium montanum

Lepidium montanum Nutt.

Mountain Peppergrass, Western Peppergrass, Mountain Pepperweed, Mountain Pepperwort, Montana Pepperweed

Brassicaceae (Mustard Family)


USDA Symbol: LEMO2

USDA Native Status: L48 (N)

A round plant formed by many slender branches, each branch ending in a short dense raceme of minute white flowers. Mountain pepperwort is a 1-2 ft., dense, shrub-like biennial or short-lived perennial. Basal leaves are larger than stem leaves; all leaves may be either pinnately lobed or entire. In bloom, the plant is covered with small clusters of small, white flowers.

This species has been defined over the years by different botanical authorities into varying numbers of varieties or subspecies. The showiest peppergrass is Fremont's Peppergrass (L. fremontii), found from southeastern California to southwestern Utah, western Arizona, and northwestern Mexico; it has white flowers with petals 1/4" (5 mm) long and pods resembling broad hearts about 1/4" (6 mm) wide.


From the Image Gallery

15 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Annual , Perennial , Biennial
Habit: Herb
Fruit Type: Silicle
Size Notes: Up to about 2 feet tall.
Leaf: Green
Flower: Flowers in 2 inch heads

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr , May , Jun , Jul , Aug


USA: AZ , CA , CO , ID , MT , NM , NV , OR , TX , UT , WY
Native Distribution: W. TX to e. AZ, n. to s. ID & Beaverhead Co., MT
Native Habitat: Sandy, saline, or calcareous sites

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Low
Light Requirement: Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Dry
CaCO3 Tolerance: Low
Soil Description: Sandy, saline, or calcareous soils. Saline, Calcareous, Limestone-based, Caliche type, Sandy, Sandy Loam, Medium Loam, Saline tolerant
Conditions Comments: Seeds are used as a peppery spice, thus the common name. This is a short-lived perennial so some seedlings must be allowed to survive for replacement plants.


Use Ornamental: Border, Rock gardens, Showy, Blooms ornamental, Perennial garden
Use Wildlife: Nectar-Bees, Nectar-Butterflies, Nectar-insects.
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Attracts: Butterflies
Larval Host: Checkered white.

Butterflies and Moths of North America (BAMONA)

Checkered White
(Pontia protodice)

Larval Host
Learn more at BAMONA


Description: Propagate with cuttings or sow seed in early fall.
Commercially Avail: yes

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department - Austin, TX


Bibref 318 - Native Texas Plants: Landscaping Region by Region (2002) Wasowski, S. & A. Wasowski
Bibref 291 - Texas Wildscapes: Gardening for Wildlife (1999) Damude, N. & K.C. Bender
Bibref 328 - Wildflowers of Texas (2003) Ajilvsgi, Geyata.

Search More Titles in Bibliography

Web Reference

Webref 38 - Flora of North America (2019) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter

Additional resources

USDA: Find Lepidium montanum in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Lepidium montanum in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Lepidium montanum


Record Modified: 2023-02-16
Research By: TWC Staff

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