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NOXIOUS WEED
CO, NM, AZ, UT

Lepidium draba
Lepidium draba
Lepidium draba.  Synonym: Cardaria draba. (Whitetop).
Brassicaceae (Mustard Family)

Foothills. Fields, lawns, roadsides, disturbed areas. Spring, summer.
Near Yellow Jacket Canyon, May 21, 2013.

Lepidium draba is an invasive species that spreads from roots to cover acres of pasture land. The plant grows from 8-24 inches tall and is topped by dozens of white flowers that produce scores of seeds. The plant is a serious agricultural weed and is on the exterminate list in many states.

Linnaeus named the Lepidium genus in 1753 and he also named this species. "Lepidion" is Greek for "little scale" and refers to a scale on the seed pod.

"Draba", Greek for "acrid", was a name applied to similar Mustards known to the Greeks thousands of years ago. The Draba genus is large and identifying species is often difficult, but worth the effort and quite botanically educational..

The Cardaria genus was named by Desvaux. The Greek "card' means "heart" which refers to the heart-shaped seed pods of Cardaria draba.

Michael Charter points out on his CalFlora Names web site, that the "-ensis" ending is a Latin adjectival suffix usually used to indicate the country of origin.  In this case there are two possible places: 

(1) Aleppo, Alep, or Haleb, a city in northwestern Syria. Allepo is also referred to in the form aleppica, aleppicum, aleppicus, and halepensis

(2) Halepa, in Greek: Khalepa, a city in Greece on the island of Crete near Canea.

Lepidium draba

Lepidium draba

Lepidium draba.  Synonym: Cardaria draba. (Whitetop).
Brassicaceae (Mustard Family)

Foothills. Fields, lawns, roadsides, disturbed areas. Spring, summer.
Near Yellow Jacket Canyon, May 21, 2013 and June 1, 2013.

Flowers are in dense, showy heads and are followed many days later by glabrous (smooth, not hairy) seed pods.

Lepidium draba

Lepidium draba

Lepidium draba.  Synonym: Cardaria draba. (Whitetop).
Brassicaceae (Mustard Family)

Foothills. Fields, lawns, roadsides, disturbed areas. Spring, summer.
Near Yellow Jacket Canyon, May 21, 2013.

Leaves are up to 4 inches long and 1 1/2 inches wide. Basal leaves have a petiole but all other leaves clasp the stem. Basal leaves begin withering as flowers open.

Range map © John Kartesz,
Floristic Synthesis of North America

State Color Key

Species present in state and native
Species present in state and exotic
Species not present in state

County Color Key

Species present and not rare
Species present and rare
Species extirpated (historic)
Species extinct
Species noxious
Species exotic and present
Native species, but adventive in state
Eradicated
Questionable presence

Lepidium draba

Range map for Lepidium draba