Virginia Pepperweed

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Mature plants.  Key characteristics: the plant becomes highly branched and loses its basal rosette leaves.  Upper stem leaves lack petioles and their margins may be toothed or entire.  Flowers are small, greenish-white and have 4 petals.  Fruit is egg-shaped and winged.


Seed are tear-shaped, grainy-surfaced and slightly greater than 1mm in length.

Life cycle: winter annual.

Toxic Plant: all parts of the plant are considered toxic, especially the seeds which contain isoallyl thiocyanates, irritant oils, and under some conditions, nitrates.  Symptoms of poisoning include oral and gastrointestinal irritation leading to head shaking, salivating, colic, abdominal pain, vomiting and possibly diarrhea.  Generally, for problems to occur, large quantities have to be consumed over a period of time.