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Genus Lepidium Family Brassicaceae

Synonyms: Cardaria APNI*

Description: Annual to perennial herbs or shrubs, glabrous or with simple hairs.

Leaves variable, basal leaves often pinnatisect with stem leaves reducing in size and commonly toothed or entire.

Flowers in racemes, usually many-flowered, bractless, elongating in fruit. Sepals usually short, ± erect. Petals present and longer than sepals, or more often reduced or absent. Stamens 6, 4 or 2. Ovary sessile or rarely on a gynophore; stigma capitate to slightly lobed.

Silicula pedicellate, dehiscent or not, not constricted into valve and beak regions, flattened at right angles to the narrow septum, usually notched with the style either enclosed in or exserted from notch; valves strongly keeled, usually winged; seed 1 per loculus.


Distribution and occurrence: World: 150 species, cosmopolitan. Australia: 43 species (35 species endemic, 8 species naturalized), all States.

Lepidium howei-insulae and Lepidium nesophilum are both endemic to Lord Howe Island and are not included in the key.

Text by L. Retter & G. J. Harden
Taxon concept:

Taxa not yet included in identification key
Lepidium howei-insulae,    Lepidium hypenantion,    Lepidium nesophilum,    Lepidium sp. B sensu Harden (1990)

 Key to the species 
1Fruit dehiscent3
Fruit indehiscent, but sometimes breaking into 1-seeded units
2Fruit pitted; leaves pinnatisect, lobes linearLepidium didymum
Fruit smooth; leaves oblanceolate, entire or almost so
                       Back to
Lepidium draba
3Stamens 64
Stamens 2 or 4
                       Back to 1
8
4Stem leaves sessile, auriculate, entire to toothed, generally more than 3 mm wide, scattered5
Stem leaves more or less linear, entire, not auriculate, mostly less than 2 mm wide, often clustered
                       Back to 3
7
5Stem leaves more or less broad-ovate to circular, entireLepidium perfoliatum
Stem leaves more or less triangular or oblanceolate to obovate, margins usually toothed, sometimes lobed or entire
                       Back to 4
6
6Stems, pedicels and leaves glabrousLepidium foliosum
Stems, pedicels and leaves hairy
                       Back to 5
Lepidium campestre
7Fruiting pedicel less than 5 mm long; style more or less shorter than apical notch of silicula; stem warty or shortly papilloseLepidium phlebopetalum
Fruiting pedicel more than 5 mm long; style longer than apical notch of silicula; stem sparsely papillose
                       Back to 4
Lepidium leptopetalum
8Stamens usually 49
Stamens usually 2
                       Back to 3
13
9Leaves auriculate; stems distinctly hairy; silicula more or less hairy when young10
Stem leaves attenuate at base; stems more or less glabrous or finely hairy; silicula glabrous or papillose
                       Back to 8
11
10Stem with obtuse hairs or papilloseLepidium papillosum
Stem with acicular hairs
                       Back to 9
Lepidium oxytrichum
11Petals absent or shorter than sepals; wings at least commencing in lower half of fruit12
Petals longer than sepals; wing formed only in upper half of fruit
                       Back to 9
Lepidium virginicum
12Fruit glabrous; wings acute, uniform around fruitLepidium monoplocoides
Fruit papillose; wings obtuse, tapering in lower half of fruit
                       Back to 11
Lepidium pseudopapillosum
13Petals longer than sepalsLepidium virginicum
Petals absent or reduced and shorter than sepals
                       Back to 8
14
14All leaves lobed or dissected to some degreeLepidium bonariense
At least upper stem leaves neither lobed nor dissected
                       Back to 13
15
15Leaf bases more or less auriculate16
Leaf bases attenuate
                       Back to 14
20
16Inflorescence a corymb, short, not elongating in fruitLepidium fasciculatum
Inflorescence a raceme, elongating in fruit
                       Back to 15
17
17Pedicels glabrous18
Pedicels hairy
                       Back to 16
20
18Silicula more than 3 mm long; petals rudimentary, ovateLepidium hyperpantion
Silicula less than 3 mm long; petals, if present, rudimentary, linear
                       Back to 17
Lepidium sagittulatum
19Plants not spinescent; silicula more or less hairyLepidium hyssopifolium
Smaller branches spinescent; silicula glabrous
                       Back to
Lepidium aschersonii
20Pedicels glabrousLepidium pseudohyssopifolium
Pedicels hairy
                       Back to 17
21
21Pedicels more or less shorter than or equal to silicula22
Pedicel longer than silicula
                       Back to 20
Lepidium peregrinum
22Fruit less than 3 mm long; stem glabrous or with a few scattered hairs23
Fruit more than 3 mm long; stem with long spreading obtuse hairs
                       Back to 21
Lepidium muelleri-ferdinandi
23Marginal hairs on leaves long or absentLepidium africanum
Marginal hairs on leaves short, acute or obtuse (often visible only on young leaves)
                       Back to 22
Lepidium pseudotasmanicum

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