homebanner homebanner homebanner homebanner homebanner homebanner
Lepidium sativum - L.
Common Name Cress, Gardencress pepperweed
Family Brassicaceae or Cruciferae
USDA hardiness 6-9
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Not known in a truly wild situation.
Range Of uncertain origin, possibly Iran. Naturalized in Britain.
Edibility Rating  
Other Uses  
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating  
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun


Lepidium sativum Cress, Gardencress pepperweed

Lepidium sativum Cress, Gardencress pepperweed
USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database / Britton, N.L., and A. Brown. 1913. Illustrated flora of the northern states and Canada. Vol. 2: 166.
Physical Characteristics
 icon of manicon of flower
Lepidium sativum is a ANNUAL growing to 0.5 m (1ft 8in).
It is hardy to zone (UK) 7. It is in flower from Jun to July, and the seeds ripen from Jul to August. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.


 Cultivated Beds;
Edible Uses
Edible Parts: Leaves;  Oil;  Oil.
Edible Uses: Condiment;  Oil;  Oil.

Young leaves - raw or cooked[2, 5, 27, 34, 52, 183]. A hot cress-like flavour, it makes an excellent addition (in small quantities) to the salad bowl[K]. An analysis is available. Root is used as a condiment[46, 61]. A hot pungent flavour, but the root is rather small and woody[K]. The fresh or dried seedpods can be used as a pungent seasoning[183]. The seed can be sprouted in relatively low light until the shoots are a few centimetres long and then be used in salads[183]. They take about 7 days to be ready and have a pleasantly hot flavour. An edible oil is obtained from the seed[46, 61, 105].
Figures in grams (g) or miligrams (mg) per 100g of food.
Leaves (Fresh weight)
  • 0 Calories per 100g
  • Water : 82.3%
  • Protein: 5.8g; Fat: 1g; Carbohydrate: 8.7g; Fibre: 0g; Ash: 0g;
  • Minerals - Calcium: 0mg; Phosphorus: 0mg; Iron: 28.6mg; Magnesium: 0mg; Sodium: 0mg; Potassium: 0mg; Zinc: 0mg;
  • Vitamins - A: 2970mg; Thiamine (B1): 0.11mg; Riboflavin (B2): 0.17mg; Niacin: 1mg; B6: 0mg; C: 87mg;
  • Reference: [ 240]
  • Notes:
Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

Antiasthmatic;  Antiscorbutic;  Aperient;  Diuretic;  Galactogogue;  Poultice;  Stimulant;  Vitamin C.

The leaves are antiscorbutic, diuretic and stimulant[46, 240]. The plant is administered in cases of asthma, cough with expectoration and bleeding piles[240]. The root is used in the treatment of secondary syphilis and tenesmus[240]. The seeds are galactogogue. They have been boiled with milk and used to procure an abortion, they have been applied as a poultice to pains and hurts and have also been used as an aperient[240]. Fresh foliage has 37% Ascorbic acid - vitamin C
Other Uses
Oil;  Oil.

The seed yields up to 58% of an edible oil that can also be used for lighting[74].
Cultivation details
An easily grown plant, it succeeds in most soils[52]. For the best results, however, it requires a moist soil and also some shade during the summer to prevent it running straight to seed[27, 37, 52]. Garden cress is often cultivated as a sprouted seed, there are some named varieties[183]. It is the cress of 'mustard and cress'. A very easy and fast crop, it can be ready within 7 days from sowing the seed[27]. It can also be grown outdoors as full grown plants and can provide fresh leaves for the salad bowl all year round from successional sowings. Plants can be overwintered outdoors to provide edible leaves all year round, though they will require some protection if temperatures fall below -5°c[200]. This plant is cultivated in Ethiopia for the edible oil from its seed[183].
Seed - if you want a succession of young leaves then it is possible to sow the seed in situ every 3 weeks in succession from early spring to early autumn. Germination is very rapid, usually taking place in less than a week. When sowing seed for use in mustard and cress, the seed is soaked for about 12 hours in warm water and then placed in a humid position. Traditionally, it is sown in a tray on a thin layer of soil, or on some moist blotting paper, and the tray is placed in a warm dark place for a few days to encourage rapid and rather etiolated growth. The seedlings can then be placed in a lighter position for a couple more days to turn green before being eaten. The cress seed should be sown about 3 - 4 days before the mustard for them both to be ready at the same time[264].
Other Names
Found In
Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status
IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :
Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameEdibility RatingMedicinal Rating
Lepidium apetalum 22
Lepidium campestrePepperwort, Field pepperweed20
Lepidium chilense 10
Lepidium densiflorumCommon Pepperweed21
Lepidium diffusum 20
Lepidium fremontiiDesert Pepperweed20
Lepidium graminifoliumGrassleaf pepperweed20
Lepidium hyssopifoliumHyssopleaf pepperweed10
Lepidium iberis 11
Lepidium incisum 10
Lepidium intermedium 20
Lepidium latifoliumDittander, Broadleaved pepperweed31
Lepidium meyeniiMaca53
Lepidium nitidumShining Pepperweed, Howell's pepperweed20
Lepidium oleraceum 20
Lepidium perfoliatumClasping pepperweed11
Lepidium rotundumVeined Peppercress20
Lepidium ruderaleNarrow Leaved Peppergrass, Rroadside pepperweed21
Lepidium virginicumWild Pepper Grass, Virginia pepperweed, Intermediate pepperweed, Menzies' pepperweed, Hairy pepperwe22
Plant Suppliers: Click here for a List

      You can download this page as a PDF

Expert comment
Botanical References
Links / References
For a list of references used on this page please go here
Readers comment
Elizabeth H.
Dilip Jhala Tue Sep 8 2009
Please add Fatty Acid and Amino Acid compositon of the Fat and Protein of Lepidium sativum. Thanks. I am a Food Technologist of India.
QR Code

What's this?

This is a QR code (short for Quick Response) which gives fast-track access to our website pages. QR Codes are barcodes that can be read by mobile phone (smartphone) cameras. This QR Code is unique to this page. All plant pages have their own unique code. For more information about QR Codes click here.

1. Copy and print the QR code to a plant label, poster, book, website, magazines, newspaper etc and even t-shirts.
2. Smartphone users scan the QR Code which automatically takes them to the webpage the QR Code came from.
3. Smartphone users quickly have information on a plant directly for the pfaf.org website on their phone.
Add a comment/link

If you have important information about this plant that may help other users please add a comment or link below. Only comments or links that are felt to be directly relevant to a plant will be included. If you think a comment/link or information contained on this page is inaccurate or misleading we would welcome your feedback at admin@pfaf.org. If you have questions about a plant please use the Forum on this website as we do not have the resources to answer questions ourselves.

* Please note: the comments by website users are not necessarily those held by PFAF and may give misleading or inaccurate information.

Subject : Lepidium sativum  

Plant Uses

Edible Uses
Medicinal Uses
Other Plant uses
Woodland Gardening
Why Perennial Plants?
Top Edible Plants
Top Medicinal Plants
Garden Design


Content Help
Support Us
Old Database Search
About Us
Sign In

PFAF Newsletter

Stay informed about PFAFs progress,
challenges and hopes by signing up for
our free email newsletter. You will receive
a range of benefits including:
* Important announcements and news
* Exclusive content not on the website
* Updates on new information &
functionality of the website & database

We will not sell or share your email address.
You can unsubscribe at anytime.