Scouting for weeds: Virginia pepperweed

Editor’s note: This article is from the archives of the MSU Crop Advisory Team Alerts. Check the label of any pesticide referenced to ensure your use is included.

Life cycle

Erect winter of summer annual.


Leaves initially develop from a basal rosette. Lower leaves are oval with toothed margins on long petioles. Mature leaves are irregularly lobed, smooth and tapering to the petiole, and hairless. Upper leaves are alternate, toothed or entire, lanceolate and pointed.


Erect, branched with small hairs, mostly 1.5- to 2-foot-tall stems bolt from a basal rosette to flower.

Flowers and fruit

White to greenish flowers with four small petals are found in terminal clusters. Fruit are flat, round to oval, distinctly winged, .25 inch-wide pods with a shallow notch.

Editor’s note: This and more weed identification information is available in the field guide An IPM Pocket Guide for Weed Identification in Field Crops. To order, call 517-353-6740.

Virginia pepperweed
Photo 1. Virginia pepperweed flowers and fruit.

Virginia pepperweed
Photo 2. Virginia pepperweed flowering
stalk with leaves.

Virginia pepperweed
Photo 3. Virginia pepperweed mature plant

Virginia pepperweed
Photo 4. Virginia pepperweed rosette.

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