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Sand Peppergrass

Lepidium lasiocarpum

peppergrass, Lepidium lasiocarpum, © by Michael Plagens

In the Palo Verde Mountains south of Blythe, California. 18 February 2013.

This image was produced by scanning from live specimen found at Phoenix, 
						Maricopa Co., Arizona, USA, Feb. 9, 2003. © by Michael Plagens FLOWERS: Minute flowers have white/purplish petals that barely extend beyond the calyx making the flowers appear green.

SPRING ANNUAL: Grows quickly after winter/spring rains. Rarely more than 20 cm tall.

FRUIT: Disc shaped with slight notch at apex and variously clothed in fine trichomes.

LEAVES: Elyptic leaves are toothed on margins.

STEMS: Entirely herbaceous and ephemeral.

RANGE: Common across the Sonoran Desert on rocky slopes, in washes and on flats depending on rainfall.

This is another very common desert wildflower in Arizona. But it is sometimes so small that casual observers usually see it as "grass" not noticing the fascinating seed pods or minute flowers. The fruit is shown enlarged on the right; there is a notch at the apex, the pod is flattened as is the peduncle. Each side contains one seed. The plants have a mildly bitter, mustard taste.

Brassicaceae -- Mustard Family

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Copyright Michael J. Plagens, page created 9 February 2003,
updated 21 February 2013