Lepidium sativum L.

Last updated: 28 April 2016

Scientific Name

Lepidium sativum L.


Arabis chinensis Rottler ex Wight, Cardamon sativum (L.) Fourr., Crucifera nasturtium E.H.L.Krause, Lepia sativa (L.) Desv., Lepidium hortense Forssk., Lepidium spinescens DC., Nasturtium crispum Medik., Nasturtium hortense Garsault [Invalid], Nasturtium sativum (L.) Moench, Nasturtium spinescens (DC.) Kuntze, Thlaspi sativum (L.) Crantz, Thlaspidium sativum (L.) Spach. [1]

Vernacular Name

English Common cress, common garden cress, cress, garden cress, nasturtium, pepper grass, pepperwort [2]
China Jia du xing cai [2]
India Aadithyalu, aali, akalam, asalima, bhadra, candrasura, chamsoor, chansaur, daraa, drighabija, drona, farjir, habbar-rashad, halam, haleh, half, halim sak, kalamesha, karavi, nandini, pasumehanakarika, raktaraji, reschad, suvasura, towdri, turrah-tizkah, vasapuspi, krishna [2]
Indonesia Alim [3]
Arabic Hab erched, habb el-rashad, habb er-reshad, reshad, thuffa [2]
Nigeria Lafsur [2]
France Cresson alénois [3]
Mexico Nocuana ciaga xtilla [2]

Geographical Distributions

Lepidium sativum is grown worldwide as a spicy salad herb. Its origin is not known, but possibly from Ethiopia or Iran. [3]

Botanical Description

L. sativum is a member of the Brassicaceae family. It is an erect, polymorphic, annual herb that can grow up to 30-70 cm tall. The taproot is slender while the stems are usually much branched and smooth or with scattered minute hairs. [3]

The leaves are arranged alternately, membranaceous, ovate-oblong in outline, measuring up to 12 cm x 9 cm, imparipinnati- or bipinnatipartite and with 2-4 pairs of lateral lobes. The lobes are linear, lance-shaped or oblanceolate and measure up to 3 cm long where the uppermost leaves are sometimes simple, serrate and hairless or sparsely pubescent. The petiole measures up to 4 cm long in basal leaves. The stipules are absent. [3]

The inflorescence is a terminal or axillary raceme, measures 1-3 cm long and accrescent to 25 cm long when fruiting. The flowers are bisexual, rather conspicuous and whitish to violet. The pedicel is 3-6 mm long in fruit and ascending. There are 4 sepals which are elliptical, measure 1-1.5 mm long, green and with membranaceous margins. There are 4 petals which are spoon-shaped to slightly clawed, measure1.5-3 mm long and with rounded apex. There are 6 stamens that are unequal in length and with 6 nectaries that alternate with filaments. The ovary is superior, flattened dorso-ventrally, emarginated at the apex, with wing-like lateral margins, the style measures up to 0.5 mm long, with a capitates stigma and fine pappilate. [3]

The fruit is an ovoid, flattened silique, measuring 4.5-6.5 mm x 3-4 mm, pale green to yellowish, with prominent apical wings, emarginated at the apex, dehiscing by 2 valves and leaves, the replum with a thin and white septum. There is 1 seed per locule. The seed is sub-ovoid, flattened, measuring 2-3 mm x 1.5 mm, wingless and reddish-brown. [3]

The seedling is with epigeal germination. The cotyledons are trifoliolate and with spoon-shaped lobes while the lateral lobes are smaller. [3]


L. sativum is mainly known from cultivation but escaped, ruderal types occur as well, especially in the temperate regions and more rarely in the tropical regions. L. sativum prefers full sun or partial shade. [3]

Chemical Constituent

No documentation.

Plant Part Used

No documentation.

Traditional Use

No documentation.

Preclinical Data

No documentation.

Clinical Data

No documentation.


No documentation.

Poisonous Management

No documentation.

Line drawing


Figure 1: The line drawing of L. sativum [3]


  1. The Plant List. Ver1.1. Lepidium sativum L. [homepage on the Internet]. c2013 [updated 2012 Mar 23; cited 2016 Apr 26]. Available from: http://www.theplantlist.org/tpl1.1/record/kew-2338547
  2. Quattrocchi U. CRC world dictionary of medicinal and poisonous plants: Common names, scientific names, eponyms, synonyms, and etymology. Volume III E-L. Boca Raton, Florida: CRC Press, 2012; p. 746.
  3. Brotonegoro S, Wiharti W. Lepidium sativum L. In: van Valkenburg JLCH, Bunyapraphatsara N, editors. Plant Resources of South-East Asia No. 12(2): Medicinal and poisonous plants 2. Leiden, Netherlands: Backhuys Publishers, 2001; p. 334-337.